Alexa’s utility belt just got a lot bigger

Announcing new capabilities coming soon to track and pay for bills with Alexa and Amazon Pay.

At the Money 2020 conference on Sunday, Amazon Pay’s Vice President Patrick Gauthier announced that Alexa will be gaining new capabilities that will not only make life easier for millions of consumers, but also cement the role of voice in customers’ everyday lives.

Most of us have been late in paying a bill at some point in our lives – whether it’s because the paper bill is buried under a stack of junk mail or because that electronic invoice is lost somewhere in your inbox. It’s also difficult to compare bills with the previous month, a pain point that is particularly onerous for those consumers who live with tight cash flows.

Alexa will be able to help with that.

Bill Notifications and “Alexa, when’s my bill due?”

Any customer whose utility bills are serviced by the aggregator Paymentus – that’s nearly 700 billers – can soon use Alexa to get bill notifications as well as proactively find out when their next bill is due by asking Alexa. That means in the very near future over 40 million US households, across 95% of US zip codes, can get bill details on Alexa.

These customers can connect their gas, water, and electricity account to any Alexa enabled device, so they can receive an alert when it looks like their payment will be late - because payment hasn’t yet been received – or, it has problems clearing - for example, due to problems with the credit or debit card used.

We’ve made it easy to activate this feature by introducing some new ways for customers to link their account to make it easier than ever. One of these new-to-Alexa features is called Biller Account Match, or BAM, for short.

In BAM, customers can give voice permission to allow Amazon to use their stored Amazon information such as their name, billing address and email address to lookup their bill on Paymentus backend. Once Alexa finds the account, the customer will be registered for pertinent bill notifications such as a failed payment or a high bill, and they can ask Alexa about an upcoming due date.

“Alexa, compare my bill.”

But this feature is a lot more powerful than that.

To get insight over utility usage over time and maintain control on expenses, customers like to understand how the present bill compares to past ones, but this information is not always easy to get to, especially in the moment.

Without having to dig through paper statements or hassle with apps on their phone or computer, they can now, instantly find out how their current bill compares to previous periods by simply using the power of voice.

Now they can connect their utility account to Alexa from Alexa-enabled devices and receive comparisons to the current bill on the spot, as well as flexibly check the difference between months, seasons, or past years. For example, all you have to say is “Alexa, compare my electric bill to October last year.” We’re excited about this feature because it saves time, helping our customers focus on the more important things in life.

“Alexa, pay my bill.”

But most exciting of all – soon customers won’t have to worry about tracking down a stack of papers in order to pay their utility bill, and they can feel confident about making secured online payments using Amazon Pay for online payments.

Additionally, once their Amazon account has been linked to their utilities account through Amazon Pay, they can actually pay their bills using only their voice and Alexa, thanks to the BAM feature.

Here at Amazon, we’re committed to always putting the customer first, doing everything we can to make their lives easier. We’re confident that these exciting new Alexa skills from Amazon Pay will go a long way to fulfilling that promise.