Magazine article American Banker

In Brief: CheckFree Goes against the Grain

Magazine article American Banker

In Brief: CheckFree Goes against the Grain

Article excerpt

As rivals pursue new strategies to present bills to customers online, CheckFree Corp. is upgrading a software suite to let billers produce electronic statements.

The new version, i-Series 5 from the Atlanta company's i-Solutions unit, has more business-to-business billing features, more international capabilities, and development tools designed to support Web services, executives say.

The upgrade, announced Aug. 26, was aimed more at companies that produce bills than at the financial institutions that present them to customers. But as Sean E. Feeney, an executive vice president of CheckFree and the general manager of the software division, noted in an interview Aug. 27 that "banks are billers too."

Credit card issuers, many of them banks, were pioneers in e-billing, and the biggest B-to-B project that CheckFree is working on is with a bank, Mr. Feeney added. (He would not name it.)

CheckFree is best known as the leading provider of consolidated electronic bill payment and presentment services. But to Bank of America Corp. and others it also is No. 1 producer of e-billing software. A May report by Avivah Litan, a research director at Gartner Inc., put its market share at 36%, and Ms. Litan said that though the i-Solutions software accounted for less than 2% of CheckFree's revenue, the business is a key to its goal of dominating EBPP.

In the past two years consolidated bill presentment has been losing ground to the biller-direct approach, in which a company puts customer statements on its own Web site rather than sending them to a service such as CheckFree's. …

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