Westpac and NAB partner with Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa

Alison Banney 18 January 2018 NEWS

amazon echo 738

Westpac and NAB customers can use Amazon's voice-controlled Echo speakers, launched today, for updates on their bank accounts.

Amazon has today launched its range of voice-controlled Echo speakers on the Australian site, allowing excited consumers to take advantage of its voice-activated assistant Alexa for help with a range of everyday tasks and requests. Two of the Big Four banks, Westpac and NAB, are among the list of Australian brands revealed as partnering with the new device, launching the Westpac Baking Skill and NAB Skill today.

The partnership will allow Westpac and NAB customers who get their hands on a new Echo speaker to ask Alexa a range of questions regarding their personal finances across a number of their linked bank accounts.

For example, Westpac customers can ask "Alexa, ask Westpac how much money I have in my savings account" and Alexa will respond with the balance of their linked Westpac savings account. NAB customers will need to say "Alexa, open NAB" before asking a range of questions, such as "What do I owe on my credit card?"

Both the Westpac Banking Skill and NAB Skill aren't limited to debit account holders, with customers also able to check their credit card or rewards points balances with Amazon's voice assistant. Customers can also ask questions regarding recent spending history, with Alexa able to answer queries regarding their recent transactions.

As well as updates on their accounts, Westpac customers can also choose to enable Financial News from Westpac. This will enable Alexa to include Westpac's update on financial markets in their daily news briefing by asking, "Alexa, what's the news?"

Westpac customers can link up to three eligible accounts with Alexa, with most transaction accounts, savings accounts and credit cards eligible. However personal loan, investment accounts and superannuation accounts are not able to be linked to the Westpac Banking Skill just yet. NAB customers will be able to link more accounts, and will be able to ask Alexa questions regarding their home loan or personal loans as well as their standard everyday banking and savings accounts.

However, neither the Westpac Banking Skill or NAB Skill will enable customers to request Alexa to make payments or transfers via voice activation. Both banks say this feature is in the pipeline.

Voice technology within the banking industry is certainly a trend this year, as the banks try to compete for consumers via new digital offerings that create seamless banking experiences. Earlier this week ING became the first Australian consumer bank to launch voice-activated banking via Apple's virtual assistant Siri. However similar to Westpac and NAB's new partnership with Amazon's Alexa, ING customers are limited to checking their account balance with Siri rather than authorising payments.

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