Last week, Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, hit the 10,000 skills milestone.
The top 5 categories of skills, in descending order were: News, Gaming, Education/Reference, Lifestyle and Novelty/Humor. The Business & Finance category logged in only 190 skills as of this morning (less than 2% of the total).
Most of those skills are for reference purposes, like asking Alexa for the price of bitcoin and exchange rates.
For a while, Capital One seemed to be the only financial institution to experiment with Alexa skills. Surprisingly, the FIs that also offer Alexa integration right now are not banking giants like BBVA or Bank of America, as you might expect.
Most of the skills are also fairly basic, and do not offer much functionality. But the potential role of voice assistants in banking can’t be ignored, and these early starters are already laying the groundwork (and the adage “something is better than nothing,” definitely applies here).
Overall, we found seven financial services companies with intriguing Alexa skills today.
- Capital One – “Alexa, ask Capital One to make a credit card payment.”
Capital One’s Alexa skill is still the most advanced of them all. Currently, the skill allows you to make credit card payments and inquire about account balances, as well as get a snapshot of how much and where you are spending, by asking Alexa: “How much did I spend at Starbucks last month?” The bank first introduced the Alexa skill last year.
- Virginia Credit Union (VACU) – “Alexa, get the rate for a credit card from Virginia Credit Union.”
The Alexa skill from VACU was (almost) as good as CapOne’s. Currently, the skill provides you with general information about the credit union, such as routing number or branch addresses, as well as lets you inquire about car loan rates, APR for a home equity line of credit, and interest rates for credit cards. It will even tell you the approximate wait time at a given branch. The skill, however, does not allow you to make payments, yet.
- TD Ameritrade – “Alexa, ask TD Ameritrade for a market update.”
TD Bank’s online brokerage arm, TD Ameritrade, offers an Alexa skill which provides quotes for all U.S.-traded stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and major U.S. indices–75,000 securities. The skill is open to everyone. “Just ask for a quote by security name or symbol, or ask for a market update. And, stay tuned—we’ll let you know as we add support for more requests about the market and your account,” the skill description reads.
- Fidelity Investments – “Alexa, Ask Fidelity to get a quote for Amazon.”
Similar to Ameritrade, Fidelity’s skill for now only provides market updates and assorted stock information. The reviews on this one, however, seem far more interesting.
Here’s what one user said: “1. not real-time; 2. no pre-market, no after-market quote; 3. too chatty — after a quote, the app asks me what else I want to do, giving me options — this is annoying; 4. app sometimes does not understand me when I ask the app to Stop – I’d like an app that lets me ask the quote and be done with it, as Siri does.”
- Liberty Mutual – “Alexa, ask Liberty Mutual for an auto insurance estimate.”
Liberty Mutual’s Alexa skill allows you to obtain an auto insurance estimate by interacting with the Liberty Mutual Guestimator tool, as well as to receive advice on common seasonal home and auto worries with access to Liberty Mutual’s online resource, MasterThis.
Now all they are missing is the ability to pay for your insurance, with Alexa (maybe) reminding of the upcoming payment.
Nationwide and Allstate also have Alexa skills listed under Finance category.
- New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) – “Alexa, ask NEFCU for the member service phone number.”
NEFCU’s skill was added only today, so no wonder that it’s still in its infancy. “The NEFCU skill is your link to information about New England Federal Credit Union. You can ask about locations, or hours for a specific branch, how to contact us, and car loan rates,” the description says.
- Alliant Credit Union – “Alexa, how do I become a member with Alliant?”
Another skill with very very limited capabilities. Just like with NEFCU, Alliant’s skills provides users with information about the credit union, including its hours of operation, member support phone number, routing number, financial tips, and how to become a member.
Many of these skills may sound a little basic or even far-fetched, but get used to it: talking to your bank via Alexa is likely in your future.
To learn more about virtual assistants and banking, join us in San Jose for Bank Innovation 2107 next week! Register here.