Voice-activated technologies like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri have all made their way into many of our everyday lives. 100’s of millions of Americans use a voice control technology and/or voice assistant in 2020. That number is only expected to rise as the technology becomes more ubiquitous. While most of us stick to putting on music or checking the weather, the applications of voice control devices are expanding as technology and user acceptance increases. These advances have naturally led to voice-enabled payment applications.
Today, we will discuss voice-enabled payments, the likely future of the technology, a few examples of upcoming voice-enabled payment rollouts, and finally some benefits and risks of the burgeoning technology.
What are Voice-Enabled Payments?
Voice-enabled payments are exactly what they sound like: payments that are transacted using one’s voice. Exactly how they work is more complex. In its current form, voice-enabled payments might include the following:
Sending funds electronically using a transfer service. Examples of transfer service companies that align with voice-enabled payments include Venmo and PayPal.
Amazon’s Alexa allows users to make online purchases through their Amazon account. Much like a “buy now” button on the Amazon site, Amazon uses whatever stored credit card, debit card, or online payment method is on file to automatically make the purchase.
Alexa also allows for a few specific transactions including ordering from Starbucks or paying customers’ Capital One credit card balances.
Google Home AKA Google Assistant is adding to its functionality by allowing users to make certain orders/payments as well.
The Future of Voice-Enabled Payment Technology
As you can probably tell from the previous section, the title Voice-Enabled Payments are Coming Sooner Than you Think is a bit of a misnomer. Voice-enabled payments are already here! Yet voice-enabled payment technology remains in its infancy. The applications mentioned above are all basic transactions that rely on presets on Google, Amazon, or other customer accounts. The future of voice-enable payment technology will run far deeper. Here are some voice-enabled payment tech advancements to look out for in the coming years:
Deeper integration with mobile banking apps, credit card apps, and e-commerce businesses.
Improved security measures including better voice recognition, biometrics, face recognition technology, and more.
A more interactive “concierge” experience. Though Google Assistant and Alexa give answers to basic questions today, their ability to interact about users’ finances remains limited. A more robust experience will depend on higher functionality and responsiveness from digital assistant tech.
Amazon, ExxonMobil, Finserv Plan to Roll Out Alexa-Based Payments
One example of a new voice-enabled payment technology rollout is Finserv, Amazon, and ExxonMobil’s collaboration to allow customers to pay for gas using Alexa. The new product will be available at over 11,000 ExxonMobil locations in 2020 and will allow users to use Alexa to pay for gas before exiting their vehicles.
This new tech displays both the limitations and the potential of voice-enabled payments all in one. In order to use the service, users must have an Alexa-enabled vehicle, have all of the necessary accounts presets, and pump their gas at a participating location. Time will tell whether this new service will prompt a larger number of voice-enabled transactions via Alexa and overall.
Are Voice-Enabled Payments Secure?
Voice-enabled payments transact in a very similar way to any other electronic payment or transfer. Yet there remains a slew of legitimate concerns about the security of voice-enabled payments. After all, what’s to stop your three-year-old from ordering $10,000 worth of legos or a simple misunderstanding to end up with a completely different product than you ordered? Of course, neither of these touch on malicious fraudsters.
As voice-enabled technology progresses, so too will its backing security measures. As mentioned above, the future of voice payment security will likely involve a combination of voice recognition, facial recognition, biometrics (fingerprints, etc.), and possible other multiple validations for significant events. It is also likely that users will be able to control their own thresholds for these types of validations. When utilized correctly, voice-enabled payments should be secure.
True Merchant Helps Small Businesses Accept Cutting Edge Payment Methods
True Merchant is a Better Business Bureau accredited merchant services company that focuses on helping small businesses. We understand that the details of processing debit card and credit card payments are often the last thing on business owners’ minds. That is why we offer transparent, fair pricing models for our top-notch services including CardSecure, NFC payments, online payment solutions, and much more! Many of our products come equipped with the hardware and software to accept near field communication payment methods.
To learn more about how True Merchant can help your small business, please contact us today by calling or filling out an online form. One of our qualified merchant services professionals will be happy to get you started.