EBPP's Three to Watch
Bank Technology News (10/00) Vol. 13, No. 10 p.54; Koller, Lynn

Bill scanning companies are providing consumers just what banks have been providing businesses for years, namely receiving bills, opening and sorting them, converting them to electronic format, and enabling payment. What distinguishes them is that they are able to deliver consumers all of their bills for online review and payment. Paytrust Inc. provides e-billing software and has been the market leader since the launch of its services in July 1999. Paytrust's e-billing software is based on a three-tier client-server architecture and runs on SunSolaris. Through an agreement with Everpath, an ASP that enables businesses to provide wireless access to their sites, consumers can access Paytrust through a Palm VII. Its membership grew from 140 accounts in July 1999 to 15,000 by mid-February 2000, and climbed to 30,000 in the following months. Customers visit the bill payment center an average of 10 times per month, and only one-fifth of the users visit the Web site fewer than 5 times a month. Unlike its competitors, Paytrust has also made major steps to receive bills electronically. PayMyBills.com launched a one-stop consumer electronic bill presentment capability in July 1999. PayMyBills lacks proprietary technology, outsourcing its scanning functions. The company received $30 million in funding form investors including E-Trade, FT Ventures, Idealab, and Com Ventures. The company does not offer premium or business services, but charges a monthly fee for the services. PayMyBills users can use an online checkbook to pay virtual checks from their checking, savings, or money market accounts. One drawback to PayMyBills is that it lacks the ability to aggregate accounts. CyberBills offers total bill management, meaning it can receive a bill and pay anyone through the Internet. CyberBills' two document processing centers add a human touch by double checking scanned bills. It also notifies customers via e-mail when bills arrive, when they are due, when payment has been made, and when an expected bill has not been received. CyberBills has a wider variety of service plans than Paytrust or PayMyBills, including a Lite plan for paying up to five invoices monthly, and upgraded Standard and Premium plans. CyberBills has begun to focus on wireless bill payment and on developing channel strategy for the presentment of electronic bills. While CyberBills has attracted the least traffic of the three companies, it is launching a marketing campaign that it hopes will boost the number of users.

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