Amazon Taps Into Bill Payments With Alexa

Amazon announced during its keynote address at the Money 20/20 financial technology conference on Sunday (Oct. 27) that Amazon Pay users will soon have the ability to pay utility bills using Alexa, MarketWatch reported on Monday (Oct. 28).

Amazon is partnering with FinTech firm Paymentus to add the new feature, which offers users the option of paying online or by voice using Alexa. Users can get notifications from Alexa when their bills are due, and they can also ask questions about the bill.

“… any customer whose utility is a member of the Paymentus Instant Payment Network (up to 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,” Amazon said in a tweet on Sunday (Oct. 27).

The service is already being offered by some utilities, including PSE&G and Reliant.

Since roughly 70 percent of consumers don’t enroll in automatic payments, Amazon saw an opportunity in the bill payments space, Amazon Pay Vice President Patrick Gauthier told MarketWatch before the announcement. Amazon expects the feature to reach 95 percent of ZIP codes by year-end.

Gauthier anticipates that Amazon will be able to branch out into other types of bill pay, such as phone and cable bills. 

“There’s good opportunity across a range of things that people pay for on a recurring basis,” he told Marketwatch. “What I know we can do in a very unique way is to integrate the power of voice and AI into this.”

The payments function was added to Alexa in 2017. Last year, charitable donations became an Alexa capability. 

In May, Amazon announced the launch of Alexa delivery notifications for all merchants via Amazon Pay. 

A commerce survey by Amazon Pay revealed that 20 percent of U.S. consumers are likely to make a purchase using voice in the next three years, while 42 percent of U.S. consumers are likely to use voice for checking delivery status in the next three years.

With that in mind, Amazon Pay merchants can now integrate voice into their eCommerce offerings with Alexa’s delivery notifications capability. This offers retailers benefits including enhanced customer experience with proactive shipment delivery notifications; less of a need for customer support due to fewer customer service inquiries checking for delivery status updates; brand differentiation by becoming an early adopter of voice commerce with Alexa; and a simple and straightforward API, enabling faster integration.