A Secure Method for Financial Transactions Using Alexa Is Proposed

by Tim Sloane 0


Daon has demonstrated how its selfie biometric security technology can be used to secure Alexa financial transactions:

“Daon’s Alexa skill isn’t quite as simple as just saying, “Alexa, send mom $50.”

In a demo Monday, Daon software engineer Jason Beloncik turned on the skill on by saying: “Alexa, open Daon Bank.”

“Hello Jason,” Alexa responded. “Thank you for using the Daon Bank Alexa skill. How can I help you today? You can say ‘What’s my balance?’ or ‘Send money.'”

He told Alexa to send Grissen $1,000, and Alexa told him more authentication was required. Using his phone, Beloncik confirmed the transaction was legit and verified his identity by allowing a Daon app to take a picture of his face. He said the app could’ve also authenticated him via voice, fingerprint or a PIN.

In the real world, before sending anyone money using the skill, you would need to add that person as a payee on your bank account online. That should stop anyone within shouting distance of your Echo from stealing your money.

Any bank providing this capability would likely let you use its own app to authenticate purchases, so you wouldn’t have to download a separate app, Beloncik said.

Further into the future, Beloncik said Alexa might be able to authenticate who you are by just using your voice. But for now, Amazon doesn’t let developers grab snippets of a user’s audio, so that option isn’t yet available.”

Connecting the money transfer skill to a bank mobile app appears to be an appropriate method for assuring that the user is authorized to make the transaction, and while a selfie can make sure its the user, so could a PIN or fingerprint.

The real question is how much security will be demanded by risk officers and if they will accept different levels of security for different values. Perhaps simply knowing the voice command was issued in the presence of the user’s phone is sufficient for low value transactions while higher value transactions require the more stringent user authentication methods. No doubt there are already many innovations being explored in this area by banks, Fintechs and everyone else!

Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments and Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group

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