Today In Data: Alexa Skills, Bitcoin Highs And Self-Serve Car Buying

Today in PYMNTS’ data, Alexa keeps learning new skills, cryptocurrency is reaching ever-higher, all-time highs, car buyers save money with self-serve purchasing options, chief financial officers (CFOs) believe large companies will benefit from tax reform and credit unions are partnering with digital security firms to avoid fraudulent logins and account takeovers.


Here are the numbers:

25,000 | The number of skills Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant Alexa currently possesses, a figure that is growing daily. According to Patrick Gauthier, vice president and general manager of Amazon Pay, even travel experiences benefit from Alexa’s help. The voice-activated assistant can use context to anticipate what everyday users might need or want to do, and then offer helpful suggestions on how to get those things done. Voice provides a more complete, natural and delightful experience for customers, Gauthier said. When enriched by data, artificial intelligence (AI) and a seamless integration with payments, voice becomes a platform for merchants to offer more services in a way that adds value to the customer and, ultimately, more sales to merchants.

$20,000 | Cryptocurrency bitcoin finally managed to break the barrier after all, reaching a value of more than $20,000 per coin before the end of 2017. The opening of the Cboe Futures Exchange for bitcoin had a hand in making it happen. The digital currency exchanges also had hiccups, though, including GDAX and Cboe both experiencing shutdowns as the number of transactions overpowered their bandwidths.

$1,430 | The approximate amount of money used car buyers save versus the Kelley Blue Book value, on average, by purchasing through a more self-service used car seller like Carvana. Doing away with the haggling-happy used car salesman may seem like a pipedream, but the company disagrees. In a recent interview, Ryan Keeton, co-founder and chief brand officer for Carvana, the company’s lower overhead granted by its largely self-serve auto purchasing and financing model offers a more efficient business model for companies and a more enjoyable experience for customers.

50 percent | Portion of North American CFOs who believe large companies will benefit the most from tax reform, according to a CNBC survey. Analysts noted the wide margin over any other group that may benefit from new tax laws, with the middle class the second-most commonly cited group that survey respondents said would gain the most, at 12.5 percent. In addition, three-quarters of CFOs across North America told researchers that their companies supported at least one version of the GOP’s tax reform plans.

0.26 percent | The percentage of Star One Credit Union’s 100,000 member accounts that generate red- and yellow-level alerts indicating potentially fraudulent logins. Of those, only 3.35 percent (40 logins) require further qualifying action and 17 percent of qualifying alerts are actionable, according to Marguerite Mucker, executive vice president of operations, and all thanks to a partnership with digital security firm Guardian Analytics.