"Hey Alexa, how much do I owe on my credit card?"

"Hey Alexa, how much do I owe on my credit card?"

Bank customers will now be able to access their personal finances, transaction details and rewards history through Alexa – Amazon’s voice controlled virtual assistant. 

Smart home devices are becoming increasingly popular, and for Westpac and NAB customers, this “hands-free banking” is an innovative step forward. 

What is Alexa?

According to Tomsguide, “Alexa is a virtual personal assistant designed to compete with the likes of Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and others. Alexa, which was designed by Amazon’s secretive Lab126, can listen to your voice commands and respond with contextual responses to help you get the job done.

Alexa was popularized by the Amazon Echo, a device that acts both as a speaker and a smart-home hub, but also works on many other devices.”

 

Customers who have linked Alexa to their accounts will be able to ask it a range of questions, from “Alexa, ask Westpac how much money I have in my savings account” to “Did I get paid this week?”. 

George Frazis, Chief Executive, Westpac Consumer Bank said of the news: “we know our customers want a seamless banking experience that fits with their needs and complements their lifestyles.

“As more people adopt innovative voice-activated technologies in an increasingly mobile world, we are excited to be one of the leaders in this space providing secure, easy to use, cutting edge banking services for our customers,” said Mr Frazis. 

NAB Executive General Manager Digital & Innovation Jonathan Davey said Alexa would “bring another dimension to banking for customers through the secure digital connection to their internet banking.” 

“Being able to provide customers with more personalised banking information is the latest development in hands-free, voice enabled experiences. 

“Our skill for Amazon Alexa devices provides a secure connection between the device and a customer’s internet banking account, allowing them the convenience to manage their money,” said Mr Davey. 

Should I connect this service to my bank account?

There are some obvious questions that you may want to ask when it comes to connecting your bank account to any device, none more significant than “is this secure?” 

According to Amazon, they take customer safety and security seriously. “We have taken measures to make Echo secure,” Amazon said in an emailed statement to NBC News. “These include disallowing third party application installation on the device, rigorous security reviews, secure software development requirements and encryption of communication between Echo, the Alexa App and Amazon servers.” 

However, you may want to consider who will be in the same room as your Alexa before you connect your bank account. Alexa is always listening and accidentally triggering its commands is common. If you don’t want your children or other housemates knowing the answers, this may be something you need to weigh up before connecting. 

Also, if you needn’t worry about your teenager transferring themselves money right from your bank account. The “hands-free banking” feature does not currently allow you to pay bills or transfer funds via voice. 

According to Mr Davey, “in the future, we certainly see this experience turning into one where you can pay bills, make funds transfers or even purchase items at the command of your voice.”

Did you find this helpful? Why not share this news?

Advertisement

RateCity

Money Health Newsletter

Subscribe for news, tips and expert opinions to help you make smarter financial decisions

By signing up, you agree to the ratecity.com.au Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy

Advertisement

Learn more about bank accounts

How do you find a bank account number by name?

For privacy reasons, Australian banks won’t hand out account numbers or other details about their customers. However, if you provide a bank with a BSB and account number, they should be able to confirm if those numbers belong to one of their customers.

How do I close a bank account?

Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.  

Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.   

  • Cancel any scheduled or recurring payments
  • Update your direct debit details (such as loan repayments) with creditors
  • Export your payee address book (to keep a record of saved third-party bank account details)
  • Transfer the balance of your account (to the new bank account)
  • Close your account online, or by calling the bank or visiting a branch

Do you need a bank account to sell on eBay?

You don’t need a bank account to sell on eBay. But if you don’t have a bank account, you must provide either a credit card or debit card.

How do I close my bank account online?

You can usually easily open a bank account online, but you often can’t close it online.

Many banks and credit unions will only let you close an account if you go into a branch or call them on the phone.

However, some banks will let you request to close the account via your internet banking. Check your financial provider’s website for details.

Just remember: If you still have funds in the bank account, transfer them to another account, or withdraw the cash. Also, if you have any payments like direct debits going in or out of the bank account, these will also stop when you close your account.

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

How do I transfer money from Paypal to my bank account?

Transferring cash from Paypal into your bank account is simple…if you have a Paypal account that is.

Once you’re logged into your Paypal account, the account balance will appear on your home page. Below your balance are two options:

  • Add money
  • Withdraw money

Choose option two if you want to transfer money from your Paypal account to your personal bank account.

The next screen will prompt you to either enter new bank account details or choose a bank account that’s connected to Paypal. You can always add more bank accounts to your Paypal profile.

Another way to transfer out of Paypal is by jumping to the wallet tab on the top menu, and clicking ‘transfer money’. Both options will give you the same result.

Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

  • Payee’s name
  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

What do I need to open a company bank account?

To open a company bank account, you will probably have to provide 100 points of ID, an ABN and an ACN. You will probably have to provide the details of all signatories as well.

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

Can I link a bank account to Paypal?

Paypal is a safe and convenient way to pay online without the need to share your financial details. You can send and receive money or accept credit and debit cards as a seller using Paypal.

It’s easy to link your bank account to a Paypal account and start making transactions within minutes.

To start, you first need a Paypal account (it’s free to join). When setting up your Paypal account, you will be prompted to link a credit card or bank account (or both if you wish).

PayPal works without a balance; you can use Paypal to shop or send money when your balance is zero.

When your Paypal balance is zero, Paypal will ask you to choose your preferred payment method at the checkout.

This could be either your linked bank account or credit card. Your bank details can be updated if you change banks or credit cards.

Can I have a PayPal account without a bank account?

You don’t need a bank account to send or receive money through PayPal. However, you do need a bank account if you want to withdraw money from your PayPal account.

Can I close my bank account over the phone?

In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.

By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.

In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.

Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.

Can you get a payday loan without a bank account?

Yes. Some payday lenders are willing to transfer loans to prepaid debit cards instead of bank accounts.

Can I find my bank account number online?

Yes, you can find your bank account number by logging into your online banking and clicking on the relevant account.