-- The new company will deliver the first consolidated view of electronic
bills, enabling efficient management and payment, through online banks for
consumers in the UK--
LONDON/ATLANTA (15 April, 2004) - BACS Limited and CheckFree Corporation (Nasdaq: CKFR) today announced a new joint venture created to develop and promote the adoption of online bill viewing and payment services provided by
High Street banks in the UK. The new company will combine the commercial application of BACS' trusted position in the UK payments industry with CheckFree's electronic billing experience and global market leadership in electronic billing software, with its CheckFree i-Series solution already widely used in 23 countries globally by nationwide electronic billing service providers and high-volume billers. The joint venture will link billers and banks together to deliver electronic bills and statements to consumers throughout the UK.
Recent Independent research found that over 7 million UK adults regularly bank online, while 3 million of those claim to already view and pay some bills online. Visiting disparate supplier sites or paying bills without access to details is seen as confusing or cumbersome, so the option of viewing and paying through one consolidated bank site already appeals to 68 percent of online bankers.
Martin Kearsley, managing director of the new company, said: "We are offering consumers in the UK the opportunity to view and pay their bills through their existing online bank - a single, regularly used, highly secure site - for the first time. No need to remember multiple passwords for each biller site, no need to write cheques, no need to miss a payment. There are significant business advantages for billers and banks to adopt the service, and I believe it will change the way consumers will manage their money."
The new company will offer consumers, billers and banks a complete, end-to-end experience for electronic bill payment processing. As the pioneer and market leader in electronic billing and payment, CheckFree brings more than 20 years of experience to the joint venture and in the United States today serves more than 12 million consumers through more than 1,100 financial services companies, including Bank of America, US Bank, Merrill Lynch, Charles Schwab and many more. In 1997, CheckFree invented the Internet bill and in its 2003 fiscal year the company distributed about 32 million electronic bills for hundreds of billing companies, processing over 430 million transactions. This capability will be harnessed in partnership with BACS the UK Automated Clearing House which since 1968 has provided secure transaction services to the Payments Industry and approximately 50,000 business users, including all of the FTSE 100, with an additional 60,000 business connections direct and through service bureaus.
"This is a very exciting new opportunity and I am delighted for BACS to be
working with CheckFree in the provision of a new and innovative service. This is a significant move for BACS in its drive to grow its business and add value and service to its customers. In addition, BACS trusted position within the UK payments industry, combined with the technical capability of CheckFree gives the service a highly talented and trusted base from which to grow. I am looking forward to growing the business and developing the partnership with our American partners," said Marion King, chief executive, BACS Limited.
Pete Kight, chairman and chief executive officer, CheckFree Corporation, commented: "The movement from paper to electronic continues to accelerate, and this venture will enable all participants in the United Kingdom to benefit. Banks can quickly expand their electronic commerce capabilities to offer greater consumer value and convenience. Billers can strengthen customer relationships as they reduce reliance upon paper bills and streamline billing, accounts receivable and customer care operations. This national electronic billing and payment service will give consumers in the UK the ability to manage and control the majority of their monthly financial activities from the financial services web site of their choosing."
Benefits to Participants
The electronic delivery and payment of bills will provide a range of benefits as consumers change the way they manage their finances.
- UK consumers will have the ability to both view and pay their bills at their bank's website
- Banks will be able to offer new levels of service and convenience to consumers, who cite the ability to view and pay bills at a single site as an increasingly critical component of their online banking experience
- Significant cost reductions for banks and billers will be secured as reliance on paper bills decreases and automation of manual tasks occur
- The frequency of bank-site visits will increase as consumers log-on while automated access, time savings and availability offer the individual greater control
- Billing organisations will be able to strengthen customer relationships via visibility at bank sites, targeting interactive marketing messages through the electronic bill, and by offering the convenience of remote access to bills and statements
- Tight integration between billing operations, accounts receivable and customer care systems within their operational environment will deliver substantial cost savings
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