It's apparently impossible to go an entire week without a strange but powerful new integration being added to Amazon's Alexa. This week: Capital One. Its customers can now check their bank account and credit card balances just by asking Alexa. They'll also be able to have Alexa recite recent transactions, check on when a bill is due, and pay off a card balance.
Useful if you want to not-very-subtly impress someone
Capital One is the first company to integrate any sort of financial services with Alexa. That may be because it seems odd asking a speaker to loudly announce how much money you have, or how much money you owe, or where you've been spending your money. But VentureBeat reports that you can, optionally, set up a passcode, which it sounds like Alexa will ask for before saying anything. So house guests theoretically won't be able to get info on your account. And if that's the case, this really ought to be pretty useful — at least with the banks and card companies I'm using, logging in to check even the slightest bit of information is a several-minute-long hassle.
Once the Alexa integration is enabled through its app, it'll work on the Amazon Echo, FireTV, or the new Amazon Tap and Echo Dot. Some of the commands include, "Alexa, ask Capital One for my Quicksilver Card balance" and "Alexa, ask Capital One to pay my credit card bill." Then when your card's paid off, you're all set to ask Alexa to order you a pizza.