Scan and Pay E-Billing Surmounts Obstacles
Bank Technology News (09/00) Vol. 13, No. 9 p.1; Kapler, Robert

To date, the hoped-for rise of electronic bill presentment has been at a stalemate-billers are unwilling to join in electronic bill presentment services unless many consumers can receive them, while consumers are not able to receive them because billers are not joining in. Hoping to break through this stalemate are online consumer lockbox providers, chiefly Paytrust, PayMyBills.com, and CyberBills. These companies circumvent the problem by scanning in copies of billers' paper bills and enabling consumers to view them securely online. Critics contend that such startup services are likely to be used by only a few consumers who invite risk, and that the services will likely be supplanted by experienced financial institutions or by presentment firms that offer more features. But lockbox providers have the advantage of not requiring billers' banks and technology companies all to participate in the service; in addition, the lockbox providers also offer account-aggregation services. The strategy of the lockbox providers is to build electronic bill-payment services by focusing first on the consumer rather than on the billers and software vendors. After the customer base grows, the providers can add the ability to handle electronic bills and electronic payments, and they can also ally with other electronic bill presentment companies. Since the lockbox providers have thus far not gained an impressive number of customers, they are beginning to change their strategies by attempting to build relationships with other players in the bill-presentment field.


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