You could one day send money to a friend simply by asking Alexa

As easy as it is to receive money these days, what with the emergence of services like Venmo and Zelle, it’s also getting alarmingly easy to just send your money away. Now, it’s getting easier. Amazon’s Alexa may just be able to help you transfer money to a bank, your landlord, or your friends — and while that is obviously convenient, it could also be a little too convenient. After all, now that you don’t even have to take out a credit card in order to make a payment, what’s to stop you from buying the world (other than your bank account)?

The functionality, which hasn’t been officially launched yet, would come from Daon. As CNET reports, it’s a Virginia-based company that creates biometric software for governments and banks. Now, it reportedly built a way for financial institutions to allow customers to send money to just about anyone using their voice and an artificial intelligence assistant. But don’t worry — this is only a one-way street. So just because your brother think you owe him money doesn’t mean that he can tell Alexa that you ought to send him $20.

The company says that it’s in talks with “major financial institutions who are interested in pursuing [the function] as a new service.” Apparently, these institutions plan to release the new Alexa skill sometime in the next nine to 18 months.

“Our banking and financial customers are keen to provide this for their consumers,” Daon CEO Tom Grissen told CNET. As it stands, Alexa can already help you with certain aspects of your financials. For example, you can pay off a credit card or make a loan payment using voice apps for banks including Capital One, Ally Bank, and American Express. But even these forward-looking institutions have yet to make it possible for you to send money to someone else via your voice.

This makes sense, of course — if just anyone could tell Alexa to send someone money, bank accounts across the world would soon be drained. But Daon plans to protect against that by first having account holders adding potential recipients as payees online. Then, you would also have to authenticate any command made — this authentication method could take many forms, including a fingerprint or PIN. One day, Alexa may even be able to authenticate a command using voice recognition, but seeing as developers can’t access user’s audio quite yet, this functionality is still a ways away.


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