Ally Bank joins the very short list of banks that have integrated with Alexa, Amazon’s personal voice assistant, on devices such as the Echo and Echo Dot products.

Ally Skill, the name of the new feature on Amazon’s voice-activated devices, lets the direct bank’s deposit customers check account balances, track recent transactions and deposits, transfer money and access deposit product interest rates without ever having to type a word.

Bloomberg News

Most notably, Ally Skill lets customers ask Alexa something less expected: how many hours they would have to work to afford a purchase, such as a bike. The feature, called Currensee, requires customers to tell Alexa his or her annual income and the average hours worked each week.

"In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, our customers are looking for easier, individualized ways to manage their banking needs, which is why we are so excited to be working with Amazon to launch the Ally Skill," Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking at Ally Bank, said in a press release.

For the past two years, Ally Bank has offered a virtual assistant which answers texted or spoken queries on a smartphone screen. The service can check recent transactions and can handle bill payment initiations.

In 2016, Capital One was the first U.S. bank to announce its customers could use their voice to pay their bills, among other tasks, on Amazon’s Echo. This year, U.S. Bank has also made available a skill for Amazon Alexa. More broadly, banks are increasingly testing voice-activated banking as a way to let consumers accomplish a task without having to type in a request within an app on a tiny device.

Mary Wisniewski

Mary Wisniewski

Mary Wisniewski is deputy editor of BankThink. She also writes on a variety of subjects as part of American Banker's bank tech team.