The Customer Effect

‘We’re not there yet’: USAA’s Darrius Jones on security concerns in the next big channel — voice

  • Darrius Jones, assistant vp at USAA Labs, talks about its partnership with Amazon as well as data access, security and privacy
  • Amazon is taking more financial data from banks -- in this case, it's just the data USAA customers feed Alexa
close

Email a Friend

‘We’re not there yet’: USAA’s Darrius Jones on security concerns in the next big channel — voice

People could soon be doing their banking over voice-activated channels. But there are major issues around security and privacy to iron out first.

On Wednesday, USAA began piloting an Alexa skill for Amazon home assistant devices that lets customers check balances, review spending history and get other account insights based on their transactions. USAA is keen on letting Alexa read back customers’ financial data, but it’s not ready to let Alexa make payments, said Darrius Jones, assistant vp at USAA Labs, a division of USAA.

Many industries, not just financial services, are getting concerned about Amazon inserting itself between them and their customers. Banks and fintech startups are interested in using voice platforms to reach customers, but data and identity security and privacy concerns loom.

Tearsheet caught up with Jones about the pilot, its relationship with Amazon and staying ahead of customers’ security needs. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

What are some of the security challenges of this pilot?
Understanding Amazon’s role in security versus our role. Privacy is another. When you have one of these devices and you plug it in, it has to listen. That’s part of the challenge and what makes them work. It’s what you’re allowed to do with the things you hear that people are now kind of going back and forth on.

How do you mean?
You don’t want your information spewed out into the ether when anyone can be in your house and ask a question.

Or move money around.
We have not put any money movement capabilities on the platform at this point. [It] is not something our skill will accommodate because we’re not comfortable with the state of security for money movement on the platform. How do you do this seamlessly and securely? We’re just not there yet.

Is Amazon a competitor or a partner?
In this conversation we’re definitely in a partnership. We’ve had to asked them to help us better understand the technology platform, we’ve had to help them better understand our regulatory requirements.

Does Amazon keep USAA customers’ data?
Amazon only has access to what the member provides during the interaction with Alexa while using the USAA skill. We use OAuth 2.0 to provide the member with the ability to see what permissions Amazon will be granted and give them the power to decide whether to grant that permission, which they can also revoke at any time. Amazon knows the question that the member asks Alexa and the response that is provided, but not the raw data used to formulate the response. All the transaction data is USAA-owned data.

Customers often care less about privacy than they think and more about speed and convenience.
We’ve enabled secure key, a six-digit key enabled with the Alexa skill that has needs to be uttered upon invoking the USAA skill. Only once you do that will you be able to get personalized spending information and balances. It was something Amazon asked for, but even the way we implement it — having it directly on the Amazon platform, where you have to set it up to determine whether to keep it on or off — is another useful usage pattern we focus on.

0 comments on “‘We’re not there yet’: USAA’s Darrius Jones on security concerns in the next big channel — voice”

Sponsored, The Customer Effect

Mobile banking outlook for 2023: Why push notifications are more important than ever

  • Mobile banking usage is quickly growing in popularity as account holders are afforded 24/7 access to their finances and enhanced ease of use.
  • Push notifications enable financial providers to take advantage of this surge by driving account holders to their mobile banking apps and increasing customer engagement.
Larky | December 02, 2022
Sponsored by Visa, The Customer Effect

Holiday travel is around the corner — is it time for a customer experience refresh?

  • New research finds 41% of U.S. adults are planning to travel this holiday season.
  • Nearly three years since the onset of the pandemic, 40% of surveyed travelers reported changing their travel behaviors.
Visa | November 14, 2022
Sponsored, The Customer Effect

Widening access to financial advice in the face of uncertainty

  • Consumers across generations are concerned about their current financial situations, highlighting the need for wider access to wealth management and financial advisory tools.
  • Advisors have a significant opportunity to help more people and grow, but they must first turn to modern technology and embrace a hybrid approach.
intelliflo | October 25, 2022
The Customer Effect

It’s 2022 and FIs are still struggling to make their products accessible. Procure Access wants to change that.

  • Americans with disabilities have a total of $490 billion in disposable income. Yet financial services are struggling to meet accessibility requirements, even with basic tools like PDFs.
  • With Procure Access, everyone from Google to Fidelity Investments is getting involved to ensure accessibility is considered at the start of the procurement process.
Rabab Ahsan | September 14, 2022
Sponsored, The Customer Effect

Creating a hyper-personalized banking experience

  • To this day, a lot of financial institutions are using legacy systems that were written back in the '80s and remain the same.
  • Today's digital banking platforms and card services can offer hyper-personalized experiences to create a unique experience for each cardholder.
Zeta | August 25, 2022
More Articles