Alexa: What’s My Credit Score?
These days, Alexa is everyone’s friend. Amazon’s virtual assistant is at the ready to answer a range of questions with precision and a dose of humor. Whether you’re looking for directions to the nearest grocery store or a healthy cache of dad jokes, you can count on this fine digital lady to give you what you seek. But what if we told you she could tell you about your credit score?
So, what is Alexa?
Alexa works through Amazon’s smart speakers, known as Echo, as well as on other devices including Amazon’s Kindle Fire e-reader, Android phones, iPhones and iPads. Alexa also works on a variety of smart-home devices including lighting, plugs, cameras, door locks, thermostats, televisions, speakers, vacuums and security systems. Alexa is activated whenever someone within earshot uses the “wake word” (such as “Alexa”) that puts the device into listening mode.
From there, Alexa is capable of taking a variety of commands, from playing audiobooks to offering news, traffic, sports and weather information — and much more. Users can install additional third-party “skills” through specific applications, like Spotify for streaming music or Lyft for calling a car.
In December 2018, Amazon estimated that it had doubled the number of customers who interacted with Alexa on a daily basis that year, as well as the number who owned multiple Echo devices. But Amazon did not provide hard numbers.
What Alexa can tell you about your credit score
- CreditWorks Basic, a free app that allows you to access your Experian credit report on a monthly basis
- CreditWorks Premium, which costs $4.99 as an introductory monthly rate and then $24.99 each month thereafter. It monitors credit from the big three bureaus, alerts you when changes occur, helps protect against identity theft and offers $1 million in identity theft insurance.
Once you’re connected, you can ask Alexa a variety of questions, including:
- What’s my FICO Score?
- How much of my credit am I using?
- What are my score factors?
- How much debt do I have?
- Is my credit file locked or unlocked?
- Read my alerts.
- What’s my best action?
You can get started for free by registering online with no purchase or credit card needed. The introductory offer includes:
- Free Experian credit report and FICO Score
- An updated report and score each 30 days
- FICO Score monitoring with Experian data
- Experian credit monitoring and alerts
- Free dark web surveillance report
The Experian skill for Alexa app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Is it safe for Alexa to tell you about your credit score?
In 2017, data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners revealed that about 20 million homes had a voice-activated assistant, with Amazon the dominant brand, at 73%. At the same time, a white paper by digital security firm Symantec had a few worrisome findings:
- The biggest threat to the security of a voice-activated smart speaker was the other people who could access it.
- Privacy concerns were among the biggest issues with smart speakers.
- If a linked email were compromised, the device could be used to spy on users.
The report also warned users to ensure that their wireless internet is well protected with WPA2 encryption and a strong password so that ill-meaning or mischievous others can’t access your smart speakers and thus your sensitive financial information. You may additionally consider setting up a different guest network than the one your devices use.
“This is a much safer option than handing out your password to visitors to your house as, once they are in the same network as your smart devices, they could potentially attack all your devices,” according to the report.
Privacy is another huge issue when it comes to accessing your financial data through a virtual assistant such as Alexa. Although the lady herself has little vested interest in doing anything with your data, the Symantec report noted that smart TVs and smart toys have transmitted recordings back to their servers without users’ awareness.
While this is not the norm, it is something to be aware of when using the Experian app, or any other.
So, Alexa: Are you a good source for keeping my financial picture healthy? It appears that while the ability to access information through this digital assistant is robust, the privacy concerns may be as well. Stay tuned as this technology continues to evolve.
Fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.