Will Ally’s CurrenSee Alexa Feature Entice More Millennial Users?

EXCLUSIVE—How does a bank change how users think about their spending?

This is one of the questions Ally Bank asked before the launch of their new Alexa skill, which was released earlier this week. The skill comes equipped with a variety of ways to help users manage their banking needs and spend, including a feature dubbed “CurrenSee.”

That feature converts the price of any item a customer may want to buy into the amount of working hours it would take that customer to pay for it.

“We really think it’s a way to give our customers more information and control into how they think about purchases,” Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking products at Ally Bank, told Bank Innovation.

The feature brings a different lens to customer spending, and as Ally just released its Alexa skill this week, it’s difficult to say what affect it will have on customers—but it might be more difficult to splurge on the new iPhone X when the cost is displayed as your time, as opposed to the simple dollar amount.

This, combined with the fact that the Alexa skill brings the “ease and simplicity” of voice banking into “how customers are spending and saving,” according to Morais, could make the skill a popular choice for the bank’s millennial users.

Ally is starting the rollout of the skill among its deposit customers, which number around 1.3 million, according to Morais. 42% (or about half a million) of those customers fall into the millennial generational bracket, Morais said.

The hope is that the Alexa skill, and accompanying features like CurrenSee, will prove attractive to those millennials, especially as Ally is adding more each quarter. 57% of the bank’s new customers were millennials for the bank’s most recent quarter, Morais said.

“What we’ve learned is that customers want an omnichannel experience that’s consistent, but relevant to the device,” Morais said, adding that for voice, customers “really like to check on their money.”

If the Alexa skill proves popular, Ally plans to expand it with more of these transactional features, including features like Pay With Zelle, which Ally rolled out on its mobile app this week.

There is no specific timeline to add that capability to the bank’s Alexa skill, Morais said.