The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Electronic Bill Payment and Presentment – North America

The Lloyds Bank announcement bringing EBPP to UK, prompted a brief review of the state of EBPP in North America, and the lessons there.

CheckFree is the primary operator in US, and epost in Canada.  Epost has just this last week been folded into the parent Canada Post (The Canadian Post office). 

Epost has a somewhat unique view of the EBPP market, as it carries the rights and legal support that traditional mail would have, into the digital space.  To date the results have not been as strong as would have been hoped for, as they wrestled a difficult biller market space – billers (utilities, telcos, credit cards etc) who believed and still do to a large extent that they are better off managing bill presentment on their own sites’.  One of these days I hope they get over that misconception.  Why anyone would believe customers would rather make 10 visits to 10 separate sites, versus see it all at one Bank is beyond me.

CheckFree on the other hand have the market sewn up in the US.  They operate relatively transparently and allow the Banks’ to offer the services under their own brand.  From their own site.  Note the last point that 300 Banks are using their services, but that’s in contrast with the 2,000 sites using their services, which are obviously billers offerring bill presentment on their own sites.  That is such a non-customer centric approach, which continues to be followed by the billers, as in Canada.  I don’t have good stats on how successful biller sites are, and any data on that would be welcomed.

Here are some quick facts about CheckFree:

  • About 2,000 sites are now live with full electronic billing and payment services provided by CheckFree.
  • CheckFree continually signs cooperative distribution agreements for electronic billing and payment with billers. Combining those deals with the Company’s scraping technologies at biller-direct websites, CheckFree is now able to electronically deliver the bills considered most relevant to a U.S. household.
  • CheckFree delivers more than 51.8 million e-Bills each quarter.
  • CheckFree i-Series, CheckFree’s e-billing and e-statement software, offers the nation’s first end-to-end electronic billing and payment solution.
  • CheckFree has set the standard for quality in the electronic billing and payment industry by achieving 99.7 percent systems availability and transaction processing quality.
  • We offer the industry’s leading portfolio management system, used by more than 300 financial institutions.

Here are some examples of the customer experience at Bank of America.  They account for approx 55% of all bill payments in the US, and together with Wells Fargo, those two account for over 2/3 of all US electronic bill payments.  Bank of America own 16% (as of 2000) of CheckFree.

I focussed here on the key elements from the BofA demo that focus on bill presentment.  If you want to see the full demo, go to the BofA site, and select “view demo” on the upper left beside the log in.



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Written by Colin Henderson

November 30, 2006 at 07:35

Posted in Online Banking, US

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