The Digital Signature Act came into effect in 2000. Since then, electronic transactions have become a much bigger part of our lives because a legally binding signature does not have to be made on paper any more. This has allowed consumers to authorize transactions online in real time, whenever they like.

The economy is rapidly moving away from using paper transactions and media. Instead of writing checks and mailing payments, we pay online or let credit cards and bank accounts automatically withdraw funds. Paychecks are deposited in bank accounts electronically; in fact, most banks charge a monthly fee for customers who donít use electronic deposits.

While these services may be old news, a new wave of consumer services is on the way. Electronic coupons and offers are now delivered directly to computers and mobile devices. There is still a strong demand for goods and services, but consumers are seeking financial incentives to buy. They are not interested in searching for print offers like traditional coupons, but will instead consider offers which are presented to them automatically. Consumers are much less patient, demanding information as soon as they need it.

Consumers also want to make their own choices. While looking for a printer, they don't want to see offers for personal computers. They generally know what they want and will consider the best relevant deals offered to them.

Alyoop, Inc. is an example of this new wave of consumer services. Alyoop, Inc. offers a radical new coupon distribution service, seamlessly delivering matching offers directly to users' personal shopping lists at any time before purchase. Consumers can store an unlimited number of shopping lists and take advantage of the best coupons offered in their area. Manufacturers can target their offers to specific zip codes and maximize their marketing budgets. Services like Alyoop can now take the paper out of coupons and discount offers.

The movement toward electronic transactions also brings great economic advantages. Instead of printing checks and coupons, it's easy to save time and money on paper, ink, labor, and transportation. The same electronic transactions that permit automatic bill paying can also be used to save money and improve the shopping experience.

Internet-delivered coupons and offers typically pay providers electronically. Services like Alyoop demonstrate that electronic end- to-end services are the next step. Electronic transactions are the backbone of commerce in the U.S. today. High labor costs and fuel prices, shrinking sales margins and fierce competition ensure that electronic transactions will continue to grow and reach new markets.