Internet banking is entering the age of voice computing.

From today customers in Australia can preorder an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Plus, with the devices beginning to ship next month.

Accenture predicts that ownership of smart speakers in Australia will increase more than five times this year, reaching 23 per cent by the end of 2018, up from 4 per cent in 2017.

And businesses have been quick to take advantage of the Seattle giant’s voice technology, with both NAB and Westpac today announcing skills for the voice activated devices.

When the speakers launch next month, NAB and Westpac customers will be able to ask their Alexa-powered devices things like how much money is in my bank account, did I get paid this week or how much do I owe on my credit card?

Back in October, NAB launched a voice-based service for Google Assistant, which responds to queries with publicly available information such as details about credit card fees or mortgage products.

The Alexa partnership goes a step further, providing responses based on ‘authorised information.’

Jonathan Davey, NAB Executive General Manager Digital & Innovation, said Alexa would bring another dimension to banking for customers through the secure digital connection to their internet banking.

For now the devices are only able to retrive information, not conduct transactions.

“In the future, we certainly see this experience turning into one where you can pay bills, make funds transfers or even purchase items at the command of your voice,” he said.

“We’ll continue to analyse customer use and test new experiences with customers to determine how we continue to provide new features and functionality.

Westpac is also offering a financial markets update from Alexa, which allows customers to include the financial news in their daily news updates when they ask “Alexa, what’s the news?”

“As more people adopt innovative voice-activated technologies in an increasingly mobile world, we are excited to be one of the leaders in this space providing secure, easy to use, cutting edge banking services for our customers,” said George Frazis, Chief Executive, Consumer Bank.

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