Google’s Project Owl and Its Implications

Project Owl is an internal name given by Google to its latest update for its tirade against offensive searches. Since quite some time now, the search engine giant has been flooded with concerns regarding disturbing news, offensive/incorrect answers and search suggestions which sound derogatory and appear at the top of its search engine results.

Google knows that it has a quality issue regarding its search features and ‘Project Owl’ is a gigantic attempt by the company to address these prime issues as per the latest announcements. Therefore, this new announcement has been introduced to keep a check on the quality of its search results. Here are the three main steps which it is taking for working on the quality improvement:

New Feedback form for Auto Suggestions Feature
Since time immemorial Google has a feature through which an online searcher gets autosuggestions when they start typing in the search box. Google is now permitting users to report inappropriate, objectionable, and offensive autosuggestions. Since suggestions are based on real things which people have already searched on Google, it can reflect different kinds of beliefs that people might have or controversial/offensive topics they might be researching on.

Now, with the introduction of Project Owl, a new link which says “Report inappropriate predictions” will henceforth appear. By clicking that link, a form comes up which allows people to select autosuggestions with issues which enables them to report them within several categories. A SEO Company and in any part of the world needs to be in sync with various new updates which Google introduces during its official announcements.

Feedback form for ‘Featured Snippets
Since long, Google has been criticized for elevating a particular search result above the others in the form of a special display. One of the primary ways Google is trying to solve this problem is by fighting out the issue by using a feedback form which is associated with Featured Snippets.

Google does have a ‘Feedback’ link already in place for it but with the new update, the form will have various options. The new options feature allows the person to cite the reason for not liking an answer. The ultimate goal which Google says is to find out various ways to keep such controversial/problematic snippets from showing up.

Focus on Authoritative Content for Improving Search Quality
Google actually plans to improve upon its search quality by showing more quality and authoritative content for queries. This change will certainly help in getting quality search results, not just generate better snippet quality. Also, it is making all efforts to make changes two fold, Firstly, it is developing better ways to determine content which appears authoritative, but in reality it is not.

The search engine giant has been giving more weightage to such pages which seems to have a better contextual match, though they lacked a high authority. Through ‘Project Owl’ it also seems to make all efforts for ranking contextual content better when pitted against contextually explicit content. In the past, Google might have such websites ahead in their results which supplied incorrect/offensive info but were quite popular.

With the introduction of their latest update, Google plans to resolve this issue and put ahead such websites which are truly authoritative and have quality content. Websites with offensive and derogatory content will appear lower in the search results. Google will give more weightage to authoritative pages. It is the basic responsibility of any Web Designing Company to be in conformity with web designing principles and best practices. Well-designed web pages will have better SEO rankings on search result pages.

Conclusion
Though Google has started working on different parameters for improving various aspects related to searches, it has publicly announced its efforts quite recently. It has been crusading against offensive and misleading information for giving its users a better user experience on its search results so that derogatory suggestions don’t come up. It has also been making efforts to tie up with news agencies such as Associated Press to weed out offensive and fake news. It is very much possible that this may take some time to be effective as more and more people offer their feedback.

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Latent Semantic Indexing – An SEO Strategy

Although the word Latent Semantic Indexing sounds a little complicated, it is quite a conceptual term which you might be already using in your keyword research and SEO.

However a conscious closer look at it will definitely give you fair idea of what is Latent Semantic Indexing.

When a user types a query into Google’s search box, this is known as ‘keyword’ and Google gives the user certain results based on the typed keyword.

Let’s take an Example-

When we type the word “aviator” in Google Search, before entering, you get a number of options below the search box, which are predicted by Google based on the keyword entered such as Aviator Watch, Aviator Bike, Aviator Sunglasses, Aviator Movie etc…
This shows that the person searching with the word aviator might be looking for ‘aviator sunglasses’ or ‘aviator movie’ which are 2 totally different things. You will not want your website to rank in the search engine result pages for ‘aviator movie’ if your website is selling sunglasses.

APPLE – A FRUIT OR PHONE?

In the search query “Apple,” ‘Apple’ might mean the ‘Fruit Apple’ or ‘Apple iPhone’. So, when the user types in a keyword, Google analyses the words entered after the keywords and understands the intent of the user to know what he is looking for.

After this, Google scrutinizes the websites having this keyword and understands the context for which it has been used and ranks the websites which will best answer the user’s question.

This context based search is called as Latent Semantic Indexing and optimizing your content using ‘Latent Semantic Keywords’ is known as ‘Latent Semantic Optimization’. Therefore, you should understand how the search engine thinks and devise your keyword strategy accordingly.

HOW DOES LSI MAKE YOUR CONTENT MORE SEO-FRIENDLY?

Latent Semantic Indexing provides context to your content.

Even though your content has rich and interesting information and the primary keywords, it will not be useful without using LSI-driven keywords as it will not be able to give Google a clear idea of what your content is about and your website might land on a SERP where it is not relevant.

So LSI keywords give a context or meaning to your content and helps Google understand it better. The search engine is constantly looking for ‘the user’s intent based on relationship between keywords’ and ‘your content’s context matching that intent’ such as ‘aviator sunglasses’, ‘ray ban aviator sunglasses’ could be LSI keywords for “aviator” in the context of sunglasses.

LSI helps you gain web traffic
Importantly, Search Engines cannot interpret the meaning behind a text easily like we human beings do. Latent Semantic Indexing keywords make Google’s work easier to understand your web page content and in turn you are ranked higher in the SERP’s and and therefore you are likely to get more traffic.

LSI driven content is also more specifically targeted to reach the intended audience and will land up in front of the right audience. It is beneficial for you as you will gain more traffic, users who will get exactly what they are looking for and search engines to easily understand and give accurate results.

LSI Keywords should be related to the Primary Keyword
Your LSI keywords must answer all the questions related to your primary keyword, that your user might be looking for. Let’s think in the context of movie Aviator. In this case, the user might be looking for “what the movie is about”, “buying DVD of the movie”, “star ratings, cast crew or reviews of the movie”. If your website is about movies, you must use LSI keywords related to above purposes to make your content visible to the user.

Ways to find LSI-Keywords
1. Google Autocomplete: When you type a word in the search engine box, Google gives some predictions or suggestions based on the most popular searches related to that word. This is a good way to look for LSI keywords
2. Google Related Searches: When you type a keyword and get results on SERP, at the bottom of the page Google shows some searches related to the keyword. These are also good examples of LSI keywords
3. LSI Graph: This is a special tool in which you can type a keyword and get a list of all related LSI keywords
4. Keyword Planner Tool: Google keyword planner tool through Google AdWords is also a good way to find all combinations of searches related to your term.
5. Various Tools: Some other tools like Ubersuggest, Keyword Research Database Tool are helpful in finding the LSI keywords.

An SEO-Tip: You can use these keywords in your Title Tag, Description Tag, Header Tag, URLs, Anchor tags and in your website/blog Content.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

• LSI is not the only one SEO strategy that makes your content SEO-friendly. There are many other factors which you will need to ensure such as Quality of content, Research and facts, and other SEO factors.
• Do not overstuff your content with LSI keywords and use only those keywords which are relevant to your topic. You can also use synonyms and word combinations. Re-read your content and remove any words that do not match.

FUTURE OF LSI

Every article needs to be judged as a whole which is not possible using a single keyword but a set of keywords and this is where LSI becomes meaningful. On the other hand, Google is constantly updating its algorithms.

Google’s latest HummingBird Algorithm also focuses on semantic analysis and semantic search wherein Google takes into consideration all the contextual keywords – LSI keywords that bind a piece of content together in terms of meaning. Therefore, it is definitely worth spending your efforts in looking for the right LSI driven keywords to develop rich engaging content and because content is the King in SEO, Google will surely reward you if your site matches the search criteria and if it loves your content.

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Wealth Is Derived at the Expense of the Environment

Money is a manmade commodity and no one can dispute that as fact. It is, however, the thing that is destroying the environment and bringing the world as we know it to an end, that is another indisputable fact. The question is why was it allowed and who is responsible? It is like a cancerous growth that got into the cells of the living and has expanded uncontrollably until the patient is now terminal and all of life is threatened.

In the last week, ivory from hundreds of thousands of animals in Africa was burned and last January China destroyed 6 tons of ivory while Hong Kong has 30 tons to destroy. That represents a lot of dead animals. The tusks of a single elephant can produce over $1,000 for poachers and they are in need of money to live in the world where finance rules it.

Elsewhere it is the jungles and habitats of animals that are being rapidly destroyed with huge loss of species. Even the fish in the ocean are being caught at an unsustainable rate while the harvesting practices of trawlers are disturbing the ocean bed and uprooting essential sea-grass and other food sources. On top of that many animals are caught that die and are then returned to the sea as unwanted by-catch.

These are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to environmental damage caused by greed and companies who are focused on profit. Executives are taking home pay-checks and bonuses in the millions in return for the way they are destroying the world. It’s little wonder that people are angry with governments that fail to stop such exploitation.

My spirituality prevents me from destroying anything of nature or otherwise. My reincarnation showed me how wrong humans are generally about most things and insertions in the bible that state that men have dominion over the earth is false. Having said all of that, however, it is the Spirit of the Universe that controls all things, including the destruction and the greed of those who do it.

It also proves there is no heaven or hell and that all who have lived are back, that explains the size of the population. Prophecies in the Old Testament are coming true and the end of the earth as we know it is foretold. Money is, therefore, used by the Spirit to bring it about through the weak minds of the rich and wealthy.

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Money and the Death of Planet Earth

If there are future generations after this one, when all seems hopelessly in danger, what might they say to those who are driving the earth to the point of death? We don’t need to see more of the devastation to know what is happening. What will more documentaries like those now showing the danger we are in do for anyone? We know how many species are being destroyed, how over-fishing of the oceans is bringing them to a point of collapse, how polluted the atmosphere.

There is only one thing that is more important in the eyes of most and that is making money. The mindset that by taking just a little more will do no harm, or that it is not the business of individuals that is at fault, nor could it possibly be the result of the super large families of some who have no limits.

As the earth buckles under the pressure and millions flee the conflicts that usually follow such a huge population explosion like we are now experiencing who is it really that is to blame? Surely one would look to a high power, the Creator in fact, who is in charge of all things.

That power for me is the Great Spirit of the Universe whom is expected is in charge of all things and everyone on the planet. This thought comes because of my reincarnation and knowledge that the things man believes in, such as heaven and hell, do not exist. What is reality, however, is that we are in crisis and money and the death of the planet go together.

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Comparing Invoice Factoring to Bank Lending

When discussing invoice factoring with referral partners and prospective customers they frequently attempt to compare the cost of money through factoring to the cost of money through bank lending. This is a comparison that is not easy to make because the processes are so very different.

The following is a good way to explain the difference.

Comparison to Early Payment Discount

The most direct comparison for Invoice Factoring is the early payment discount offered by many companies to their customers. Traditional early payment terms are 2/10 Net 30. This means that the customer can take 2% off the face value of the invoice if they remit payment within 10 days of receipt of invoice. Otherwise they must pay the full price in 30 days.

This is precisely what Invoice Factoring does without offering the end customer the option to take the discount. There are advantages to taking this approach. One is that end customer does not get accustomed to the idea of a discount. Therefore, when a business no longer needs to factor its invoices that 2% goes directly to the bottom line.

Here’s another reason that factoring makes good sense. Some companies will insist on taking an offered 2% discount and pay in 30 days anyway. This completely destroys the purpose of offering the discount.

Factoring eliminates these two negative ramifications.

Comparison to Accepting Credit Card Payment

At its most basic level, invoice factoring is a means by which a business owner collects immediate payment from customers who either cannot or would rather not pay with cash. In the world of consumer-based businesses (and some commercial transactions) this is done by accepting payment by credit card. The Merchant Processing Fees charged for credit card payment range from 1.75% to 4% of transaction value. The type of card, bank, volume, etc., impact the actual transaction fee.

Square, for example, has a 2.75% fee for each transaction. [Square is the company that makes it possible to convert a cell phone, tablet or computer into a credit card processing device.]

Invoice Factoring is also a transaction based process. On a typical invoice factoring transaction, the service fee would be between 2% and 2.5% (depending on the specifics of the transaction). That’s less than taking payment by credit card.

Comparison to Bank Lending

The difference between factoring and bank lending is the difference between buying and renting. Bank lending is a rental fee. When you borrow from a bank (or access funds from a line of credit) you must pay those funds back in full, plus a little extra. That extra is the interest rate. This is similar to the fee you pay for renting a car. Once you’re done with the unit you must return it and pay for the privilege of usage. So it is with a bank loan. You have the privilege of using the bank’s money but must give it back when done and pay for the use.

In Invoice Factoring you have not borrowed money so you have nothing to pay back. You have sold an asset to the factoring company – an invoice that’s part of your company’s Accounts Receivable. (Typically there are multiple unpaid invoices in the A/R report at any one time.) That asset (the invoice) requires that your customer honor their obligation to pay for product and/or service. Thus the factoring company gets its money back when your customer honors that obligation.

Converting a discount rate (for example, the early payment discount noted above) to an interest rate is a unique calculation. It is not straight forward. Multiplying the discount rate by 12 months does not reflective the true cost of money because the “discount” is applied against revenue, not against a static borrowed amount. An interest rate, on the other hand, is applied against a borrowed amount.

For example, let’s assume $100,000 in invoices sold to the factoring company each month. Let’s further assume a discount rate of 2.5% on each invoice. [That, by the way, is on the high side.] In a year’s time $1,200,000 in future revenue would be sold to the factor. The cost of money would be $30,000 [2.5% of $100,000 = $2,500 x 12 = $30,000].

To calculate a comparative value for borrowed money you should take the interest rate of the lender’s offer and multiply it by $1,200,000. Here’s how that looks. The Lending Club (for example) recently advertised a rate “as low as” 5.9% per year interest. At 5.9%, on $1.2 million the cost of borrowed money would be $70,800 per year. If that revenue were factored the cost of money would be $30,000.

Summary

Understanding the difference between an interest rate and a discount rate requires looking at the financial transaction from a different point of view. “Cost of Money” is not a direct comparison. Using Cost of Money as the primary reason for a decision between the two financing models does not serve the business owner. The decision, as has been noted in other articles in this series, is better based on other considerations:

Can the business even qualify for bank lending?
Should the business refrain from adding debt load at this time?
Does borrowed money (or equity infusion) cause the owner to lose autonomy?
Financing, through either Invoice Factoring or Bank Lending, is a temporary situation. It is a support mechanism for business growth. As such, a business owner should assess his or her options based on the current business environment and choose the solution that will take them the farthest the fastest.

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Benefits of Credit Card Machines for Business

Other than credit card machines, technology has produced many notable effects, including the credit card machine. In the 21st century, people open themselves up to technology from the very center of their being. It has the added benefit of leading to an increase in the use of credit and debit cards. Additionally, the coronavirus’ arrival has also contributed to the increased use of contactless transactions. EMV cards are replacing magistrate premium cards. EMV chip cards give you the ability to make contactless payments. The merchants must have advanced payment terminals to accept such payments.

Credit and debit cards are used almost exclusively in today’s business world. To take your business to the next level, you must associate it with a credit card machine. The processing and payment services you need for online sales include a merchant processor that provides you with an online payment gateway. There will always be online modes that people will prefer to use, regardless of the volume of transactions. As a result, you have to use an advanced piece of equipment, such as a credit card machine, in tandem with your business.

Advantages:

Just because we’re living in the 21st century, it’s impossible to conceive of life without modern technology. A large number of businessmen prefer to stick to established business models. However, sometimes you have to alter your plans according to the current situation. This means that you need to be one step ahead of everyone else in the business. You will lose customers otherwise. An establishment that gets access to a credit card machine will enjoy countless benefits. Listed the benefits; so, don’t miss the following:

Obtain Legal Recognition for Your Company:

Accepting card payments using digital payment terminals is a legitimate business practice, so it should help your company a lot. The card brand name will be printed on the POS, and thus the customers will have no problem noticing it. This logo will be featured on the same online marketplace as well. The greater the number of customers from outside the country, the more money you’ll make.

Increase Your Profitability:

To accept various forms of payment, like credit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and more, use a credit card machine at your business. Creating a positive impression on your customers is quite simple, but it also keeps your customers loyal. A credit card machine, thus granting flexibility in the ecosystem of online payment, provides customers with many payment options, thus allowing them to pay bills in various ways.

How to stay ahead of the competition:

Many businessmen have not yet fully embraced digital equipment, making small-business models in the early stages of transition. To accept online payments, your business equipment must be upgraded. If customers are no longer carrying cash, you can outpace your competitors. Research has shown that when customers use their cards to make a purchase, they spend more. Additionally, because you will make a substantial profit from accepting card payments, it’s highly recommended that you do so.

Cash Flow Improving Measures:

The customers’ card payments get settled quickly when they pay with a card. Everything is done electronically, so you don’t have to go to the bank to deposit the money. Additionally, you don’t have to wait for customers to pay you. Your cash flow will thus improve.

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Are You Choosing the Right Stock Market Advisory Company

What do you do if you want to learn driving a car? You will try to find an expert teacher, isn’t it? You do not want to avail the services of a novice individual to help you out, but a professional person can provide you the vital tips and most importantly guide you efficiently. Similarly, when it comes to investing in the stock market for the first time, you require a knowledgeable advice to attain your financial goals and get profitable returns.

If you are a beginner, then it is quite obvious that you may be having no information about the process of buying the right shares in the market. In such a situation, getting the right tips from an experienced financial advisor or a registered advisory company will truly prove to be a great blessing in disguise. However, there are some of the important things that have to be kept in mind while choosing the top stock market advisory company, which are as follows:

How much assistance do you actually require?

Before you make up your mind to hire an advisor, it is imperative that you must first decide about the kind of service you require from them. You may need their help at the beginning or during the time of any issues. This is because an advisor has to formulate a map according to your requirements. Hence, it is suggested to ascertain your needs first and then take further action.

Choose a top ranked advisory company

It is a very important point that has to be taken into the consideration. Availing services of the well known advisory company or a financial advisor is an absolute necessity. Make it a point to carry out a proper background or research work about the company. Check out their credentials, reputation, experience, etc before hiring them.

Asking for a sample financial plan initially makes sense

When hiring a financial advisor, then do not forget to ask for sample plan first. It is imperative to note that there is no such thing called the perfect plan. A sample plan will help you to determine whether an advisory company is actually making sense according your requirements or not.

Conclusion

The financial planners or advisory companies can really turn out to be the greatest asset for you if you choose the best one. They are just like the professional sailors who can help you out to sail through stock investment related problems quite efficiently.

Deepak is a financial advisor who likes to provide quality tips to the people facing any issues with regard to investing in the stock market. He likes to keep himself updated about the stock market by reading articles, news and blogs, etc.

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5 Areas Where Interest Rates Matter!

Although, we hear, a lot of opinions, about, interest rates, and their trends, and impacts, very few people seem to understand, the significance, and importance/ relevance, of these rates, in several areas of our lives! After, many decades of involvement, in political campaigns, leadership, leadership training/ planning, real estate, financial sales and consulting, etc, I strongly believed, one benefits, by understanding, more about these, and how they affect, many things, in our lives! Whether, related to personal, organizational, and/ or, public finance/ spending, home ownership and related costs, credit – related issues, business matters, stock and bond pricing, etc, interest rates, truly, significantly, matter! With, that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, 5 of these areas, and how the cost – of – money, makes a significant difference.

1. Bond prices and interest rates: The price of a bond, generally, is inversely – related to interest rates! When these rates go down, prices, rise, and when they go up, the inverse occurs! Bonds have, what is known, as, a par – value, which is the price, paid, at the end of the term. Markets usually set these at 100, which represents $1,000 per bond, at maturity. However, during the period, the pricing can rise or fall, which impacts, liquidity – related issues!

2. Mortgage rates: For the last few years, we have been witnessing and experiencing, record – low, mortgage interest rates, which have helped the overall, real estate/ housing market, especially, in terms of, pricing increases! In most areas of this country, we are seeing, home prices, at their highest levels, ever, by a significant, dramatic amount! When this rate, is low, a home buyer is able to buy, more – house – for – his – bucks, because, his monthly payments, are so low! Consider, however, what might be the potential ramifications, and impacts, when these rates, will, inevitably, rise?

3. Consumer credit: Low costs of borrowing, help the automobile industry, in terms of consumer financing, etc! Although, not as much as other vehicles, rates on credit card debt, are lower, and there are often, shorter – term, promotions, offering deals! However, since, most of these are variable, and based, on some index, etc, what happens, when there is an increase, in this?

4. Business borrowing: Another area affected, is business cost of borrowing! Presently, they have had access, to relatively, cheap – money, which helps in reducing the costs of borrowing, overall operations, purchasing inventory, etc. But, what happens, when this, ticks – up?

5. Impacts on stock market prices: For some time, because bonds have paid so little, in terms of dividends, etc, many have considered, the stock market, the only game, in – town! In addition, many corporations, have seemed, better – off, than they probably are, and we have witnessed, a higher, ratio of prices to profits, than in the past! How long will this last? How high can it go?

Many factors impact these issues, especially: actual and/ or, perceived inflation; consumer confidence; politics/ government actions/ the Federal Reserve, etc. The more you know, and understand, hopefully, the better – prepared, you will be!

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Setrega – A Global Analytical Regulatory Platform

Setrega is the Global Regulatory Analytical Platform which provides a comprehensive solution to the financial institutions for complying with one or more Regulatory Authorities. Through highly customizable and end-to-end automation, Setrega helps clients to configure Reporting Data, Reporting API, Connecting/Integrating Settings, Report Generation Requirements, Report Validation Requirements, Report Submission Mode and Feedback Management. As a Global Regulatory Analytical Platform, Setrega is designed to integrate with any financial services firms to receive regulatory data and process them to regulatory reports in specific formats with minimum customization effort.

Currently, all financial institutions are facing problems with dynamic changes in regulatory requirements, implementation risks associated with regulatory reporting and managing regulatory report error handling. All financial institutions are forced to adapt to these challenges and continuously seek for solutions which are cost-effective and accurate, with real-time feedback management. Sensiple’s Setrega fits into this emerging environment by supporting multiple Regulatory Authorities with an end-to-end automated solution.

Regulation Complied Preconfigured – ESMA – MIFIR/MiFID II, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC) etc.,
Significant benefits of the Global Regulatory Analytical Platform are,

Automation Capability

Financial Institutions gets the advantage of preparing and submitting regulatory reports without manual effort.

Comply with new Regulations without risk

Setrega provides flexible data source configuration, API mapping and reporting format changes with minimum customization in product level which ensures relief from regulatory and compliance risks for the financial institutions working in various regions.

Scalability

Depending on the Institutions type like Buy Side/ Sell Side/venues, Setrega is scalable in terms of increasing number of connections, the humongous volume of data, more number of reports and formats, increased number of submission modes and regulatory authorities.

Transparency

Handling a large volume of data gives challenges in managing data to auditing; Setrega makes it more accessible by allowing the clients to have full control over data by powerful data transparency method.

Dashboard

Setrega act as a one-stop shop for all regulatory reporting for financial institutions. A vastly informative dashboard in Setrega provides all historical, current and scheduled regulatory reports and its internal & external statuses in graphical and tabular representations.

Regional Coverage

Financial firms who run their business across the globe get benefited from Setrega as one solution solves all the regulatory and compliance needs. It is successfully verified with major regulatory frameworks like MiFID II and NFA (National Futures Association) and regulatory authorities like SEC and SFC.

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The Rise of Online Payment Gateways

The cashless payment system is growing exponentially with evolving payment methods, rising e-commerce use, enhanced broadband connectivity, and emergence of new technologies. Can increasing incidences of cyberattacks and spams hamper the growth of online payment market or will it continue to grow at a rapid rate?

The global digital payment industry is expected to hit the USD6.6 trillion mark in 2021, registering around a 40% jump in two years. The cashless payment methods are rapidly evolving with ground-breaking innovations such as mobile wallets, peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payments, real-time payments, and cryptocurrencies. In the growing digital age, many payment technology companies are collaborating with traditional financial institutions to cater to the latest consumer and merchant preferences. Due to enhanced broadband connectivity, increasing mobile commerce, emergence of new technologies such as Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and rapid digitization, billions of people have started embracing contactless payments in both developed and emerging countries. Besides, surging e-commerce businesses, digital remittances, digital business payments, and mobile B2B payments are boosting the non-cash transaction ecosystem.

Cashless transaction method users across various generations are widely adopting the digital peer-to-peer (P2P) apps as they are more appealing and flexible to use. In-app payments or tap-and-go transactions take seconds at the checkout and allow users to make payments anytime and anywhere. Tokenization, encryption, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), etc., offer multiple ways of securing payments while enabling digital transactions. Moreover, the users do not have to fill in information every time to complete the payment process. Thus, online payment gateways play a crucial role in the economic growth, enabling trade in the modern economy. With social distancing rules in place, digital payments have become an obligation for contactless transactions rather than just a transaction alternative to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Digital Commerce Empowering Businesses
Electronic payment systems have become a crucial part of businesses as consumer inclination towards online shopping is expanding. With broadening internet penetration, increasing use of smartphones, and diverse options for e-transactions, most consumers are preferring online channels over traditional brick-and-mortar stores for shopping. Therefore, businesses are shifting online with an electronic payment solution to maximize their profit earnings. Automating the electronic payment system eliminates the scope of errors and saves a considerable amount of time and effort. High standards for detecting and preventing fraud in digital transaction systems and AI-based fraud detections protect users from security breaches. By providing the flexibility for making payments through credit/debit cards, mobile money, e-Wallet, etc., the businesses can expand their customer base. The electronic payment process improves customer satisfaction as customers do not need to count cash or deal with paperwork whenever they want to make the transaction.

Biometric Authentication Enhancing Security
Biometric authentication involves recognizing biometric features and structural characteristics to verify the identification of an individual. The verification method can involve fingerprint scanning, facial recognition, voice recognition, vein mapping, iris detection, and heartbeat analysis. With the rise in identity theft and fraud, biometric authentication has become a reliable and secure alternative for making digital transactions. According to a recent research, biometrically verified mobile commerce transactions are expected to constitute a massive 57% of the total biometric transaction by 2023. Biometric payment cards are also becoming popular as they support tap-and-go payments, allowing users to make faster digital transactions. The digital payment technology provider, Worldline is partnering up with the French FinTech, A3BC (Anything Anywhere Anytime Biometric Connection), to protect mobile phones from intrusion with a two-factor authentication process. The combined solution eliminates identification through a single touch, rather it recognizes fingerprints through a picture of the hand. MasterCard is planning to bring FinGo’s vein-scanning payment solution that facilitates users to authenticate transactions.

Dominance of Mobile Wallets
In 2019, mobile wallets overtook credit cards to become the highly adopted payment type globally. Digital wallets offer flexibility to users to store multiple payment methods in one digital home and turn cash into electronic money required for online or in-store purchases. Financial institutions have already started to embrace the digital wallet trend by offering virtual cards to business customers. The virtual cards stored in digital wallets consist of details like 16-digit card number, CVV code, date of expiry and work just like the physical plastic card. Currently, only 37% of merchants support mobile payments at the point of sale, but with the rising adoption, merchants are willing to invest in technologies facilitating digital wallets. The virtual wallets can save money due to low processing costs as they limit transaction values and frequency. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is improving the user experience with regards to transactions with ChatBots, designed to execute and robotize essential exchanges as per the user’s interest. Besides, cryptographic money-based e-wallets are being embraced by new companies to small-medium organizations for storing digital money. Smart voice technology is contributing to the growth of smart voice wallets ever since Amazon propelled the principle of this platform, which is now being followed by Google and Apple.

E-Commerce Boom Accelerating Digital Payment Market Growth
E-commerce growth at an exponential rate is creating shock waves, and the sonic boom is reverberating across the FinTech sector. The growth of many e-commerce companies is driven by the kind of financial services they provide. Digital transactions make it convenient for the buyer and seller to make transactions and remain loyal to the market space. The COVID-19 pandemic added a different dimension to e-commerce innovation, introducing newer trends such as payment alternatives at checkouts (not with digital wallets), virtual cards, QR codes, and other touchless transactions. Besides, the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) trend is dominating the e-commerce industry as it relieves the financial burden on the buyer. BNPL involves a soft credit check, so the consumers can buy what they need, keep the inventory moving, and pay overtime without affecting their credit score. BNPL provides businesses with much-needed liquidity and greater flexibility at the checkout.

Influence of COVID-19 Pandemic on Digital Payment Market Growth
Digital payment systems have moved beyond their peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers and bill payments. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed digital payment systems to showcase their strengths, such as a strong understanding of hyper-local markets and its ability to establish strong local partnerships. Businesses and consumers increasingly “went digital” for providing and purchasing goods and services online. When the pandemic hit, people did not want to touch or exchange cash due to the paranoia of catching the infection from physical currencies. Several governments around the world introduced digital financial transfers to provide COVID-assistance. Owing to lockdown measures, consumers shifted to online platforms, which catapulted the demand for digital payment systems. Now, digital platforms have become an essential component of people’s lives, and consumers are more likely to continue shopping online in the post-pandemic period. The dramatic shift in consumer behavior is likely to augment the demand for e-payment systems even more. Therefore, companies are focusing their attention on digital mediums to meet the new customer demands and thrive businesses in the changing market scenario. Organizations are reimagining customer journeys to reduce friction and provide new security features. Payment companies such as PayPal and Square Cash are staffing up across the board to better understand the rearrangement of societal norms and stabilize the business in the near future.

e-Payment Systems are the Future
With increasing smartphone and internet penetration, consumers are becoming tech-savvy, which presents endless opportunities for the digital payment markets. Post-pandemic, digital payment systems are anticipated to continue to flourish over the years to come. While cards remain the first choice for payments around the world, mobile wallets are quickly gaining traction. The traditional cash flow is declining in bank branches and ATMs, demonstrating a power move towards a cashless society. Currently, China dominates the global mobile wallet consumption, followed by South Korea. However, there are still many countries that are highly dependent on cash due to lack of trust towards financial institutions and lack of proper broadband infrastructure, etc. In the near future, social media-initiated payments, biometric payments, voice-activated payments are likely to become mainstream in developing countries as well.

Cybersecurity and Privacy Concerns with Online Payment Solutions
Cybersecurity and privacy threats have become a troubling concern with the increasing incidences of online fraud. According to the Mastercard survey, one out of four consumers experienced some kind of fraud in 2020, ramping up the cybercrime rate by 49%. In the first half of 2020, online scams increased by 73.8% from 2019. However, adopting new-age technologies such as multifactor authentication, biometrics, 3D security, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning can help control fraudulent activities such as phishing, virus attacks, etc. Shifting to contactless cards, QR codes, and tokenization can also help mitigate risks associated with digital payment solutions. Besides, sensitizing end-users about the secure application of e-payment solutions through amplifying efforts towards building financial literacy can help to prevent frauds. The emergence of mobile commerce and the evolution of e-payment platforms backed by robust security solutions can help to drive the goal of making the economy truly cash-less.

According to TechSci research report on “Global Payment Gateway Market By Type (Hosted, Self-hosted & Bank Integrated), By Enterprise Size (SME and Large Enterprise), By End-User (Retail, Travel & Hospitality, Healthcare, Education, Government, Utilities & Others), By Region, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2026″, the global payment gateway market is expected to cross USD15 billion mark in 2019, registering a CAGR of 22% by 2026. The growth can be attributed to the increasing demand for online transactions, rising broadband connectivity, and exponential growth of e-commerce across the world.

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