Online payment services have come a long way since the e-payment market’s establishment in the mid 90s. Competition among leaders like Amazon, Google, and market pioneer, PayPal, will prompt rapid and monumental growth in the digital payment landscape over the next few years. A study by Capgemini and BNP Paribas predicts digital payment will reach a record high of 726 billion transactions by 2020. Because cash still remains the most popular form of payment, digital transactions will not be completely replacing cash transactions. Checks however, seem to be dying as the study shows this form of payment experienced a 13.4% decline in 2015.

Roubini Thoughtlab’s study for Visa revealed the benefits of shifting to a more cashless world. Aside from the most obvious benefit, a reduction in paper waste, digital payments are a win:win situation for consumers and businesses. Digital payments allow consumers to make quick, easy, and safe transactions. At the same time, they cut costs and increase revenues for businesses. Digital payments can increase accuracy in tax collection and reduce cash-related crime; thus, reducing overall administrative costs for governments.

Online payments are becoming more seamless, as leaders are introducing new ways for consumers to place orders and make purchases in one designated location. Amazon Pay experienced an upgrade in July allowing TGI Fridays customers to order and pay directly from the app in certain cities. One month from now, Amazon will expand these capabilities to include more local restaurants, further elevating the overall take-out experience from end-to-end. The capability expansion will allow users to search local restaurants and provide them with the same functionality as is provided for TGI Fridays. The capability to store favorite items, enables customers to re-order their favorite meal with just a few simple clicks.

Google is working on similar features for Pay with Google. These features will allow Android users to pay with just one click by storing payment information on certain sites. Some of the sites that will permit payment by Pay with Google include Postmates, Doordash, Yelps’ Eat24, Kayak, Hotel Urbano, Airbnb, Deliveroo, and StubHub.

PayPal is working on something different from Amazon and Google’s integrated payment platforms. They launched Marketing Solutions, a free tool providing merchants with insights into PayPal customer behaviors, such as how many shoppers are mobile, big-ticket versus small-ticket shoppers, why customers are attracted to particular merchant sites, and so on. Additionally, a “Smart Incentives” feature informs users that they have the capability to pay with PayPal credit and One Touch for checkout. This is ideal for brands and merchants because they will be able to more effectively convert shoppers into buyers directly from their digital store.

The key to Amazon and Google’s quick payment services is their ability to integrate payment platforms with other companies’ point-of-sales systems. There’s no question, the growth of digital payments is happening in parallel with the increased consumer interest in emerging technologies such as voice assistants, connected homes, connected cars, wearables, AR, and VR. The gateway to these technologies being a success is integration. Everyone wants to create improved capabilities allowing consumers to get things done more seamlessly. To do this, we must think about how we can combine platforms and services to optimize the customer experience from end-to-end. As we start to pull back the curtain to see beyond the banks and what digital payments have in store for commerce it is clear that we cannot ignore blockchains slowly creeping in and removing the need for the middleman we call banks. With the continuance of blockchain rise to prominence will also bring on the era of cryptocurrency.

Fresh Digital Group (FRSH) not only understands this shift towards digital purchasing, but has the ability to act as a pioneer of this new and somewhat unfamiliar landscape. FRSH works directly with Google on voice skills for Google Home. As market share increases and the 24 million Google Homes projected to ship by the end of 2017, our relationship with Google allows us to be at the forefront of integration of their new digital payment system. Similarly, with 300+ skills in the Amazon store, reaching over 40k users, FRSH maintains its prominent role with Amazon, and understanding the future capabilities for Alexa.