Earlier this year, Capital One and Amazon teamed up to put the Capital One “skill” on the Amazon Echo—as of now, Capital One customers who have the Echo or Echo Dot (anything with Alexa) can access their bank accounts using their voice.
Capital One is currently the only financial institution using Alexa.
Why have other banks been slow to follow, considering the current heightened interest in chatbots and virtual assistants? Voice access specifically is an area that industry members are increasingly championing, yet CapOne remains alone.
It could be, as an Amazon spokesperson told Bank Innovation, that Capital One is simply early to the game. As Amazon stated, the offering that allows developers to build apps for Alexa, the Alexa Skills Kit, was launched a little over a year ago, and at this point the Capital One skill is just about six months old.
You could say CapOne is a trendsetter, but so far there is no trend. And yet anecdotally, we heard of another financial app being “stonewalled” by Amazon, and blaming Capital one for that. But Amazon denies that the CapOne deal is exclusive in any way.
Overall Alexa usage may not yet be widespread, and users are still figuring out what they can use the product for. According to Amazon, Alexa has over 3,000 skills—but Capital One is apparently the only one in the bunch for personal finance.
“There’s not a market demand for it,” says Mike Duncan, CEO of banking app provider company Bankjoy, on why other banks may not be utilizing Alexa, adding that ““The convenience of the technology has not caught up with expectations.” Bankjoy demoed an Alexa app at the recent Finovate event.
Duncan added that the absence of financial services apps could also be due to “a lack of awareness” around Alexa and the Echo product line, but that he expects to see growth in voice in the future. The takeaway here appears to be that though Capital One is currently the only bank partnered up with Alexa, it’s really up to consumers to shape how long that will continue to be the case. As we saw with mobile, when the consumers flock to Alexa, the banks will follow.
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