Magazine article American Banker

Fleet Plans E-Billing for Both Consumers and Wholesalers

Magazine article American Banker

Fleet Plans E-Billing for Both Consumers and Wholesalers

Article excerpt

Starting this fall, FleetBoston Financial Corp. will provide electronic bill payment and presentment for its consumer and corporate customers, using software from a single vendor.

The two services will enable Fleet's wholesale customers to send bills to consumers and receive payments from them online while Fleet's consumer customers receive bills -- from those billers and others -- and pay them online.

The idea is to overcome the chicken-and-egg problem that has dogged electronic bill payment and presentment. Consumers do not want to use EBPP until they can do so for all their bills, but billers do not want to invest in electronic delivery until enough consumers have signed on.

"The key is figuring out how to get mass adoption," said Ken Deveaux, senior vice president and business-to-business e-commerce solutions executive at Fleet. The company hopes to use its two million online consumer customers to lure wholesalers into going online and vice versa, he said.

Using a single software provider for both services is a novel approach, said James Van Dyke, a senior analyst at Jupiter Media Metrix. "They are really separate product offerings, separate initiatives, and in this case they are being sold through one vendor and at the same time."

Fleet will install software from edocs Inc. of Natick, Mass. to support both services. Fleet will host the software for most billers, but some big ones may do so for themselves.

Fleet has already announced plans to provide business-to-business electronic billing service. …

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