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CheckFree writes endorsements

CheckFree, an online bill-paying service, cuts deals in rapid success, striving to become a formidable force in electronic commerce.

CheckFree (CKFR), an Internet-based bill-paying service, continues to cut deals in rapid success as it strives to become a formidable force in electronic commerce.

Today, CheckFree added BellSouth, Capstead Mortgage, and the U.S. Small Business Administration to its new E-Bill program, which delivers bills electronically. CheckFree claims it is the only vendor now providing electronic bill delivery for corporations and plans to take E-Bill onto the Web by year's end. In other recent moves, CheckFree has:
--signed yesterday with Magic Line, the Midwest's largest regional electronic funds transfer network, to offer remote banking and bill payment processing to nearly 1,000 financial institutions on Magic Line's network.

--through its ECPartners joint venture with payment processor ADP, announced yesterday that accounting software developer Great Plains Software will integrate the e-Check bill payment process into its financial management software, Dynamics C/S+ and Dynamics. Great Plains customers will be able to pay bills electronically from their current bank through the ECPartners secure private network.

--bought Intuit's rival bill-paying service in a stock transaction worth $227.6 million on September 16.

CheckFree is not alone in lining up electronic commerce partners. Harbinger (HRBC), which runs a value-added network for secure, automated electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions, said yesterday that it has licensed electronic commerce software to Peachtree Software. Peachtree, which sells accounting software to small businesses, will market Harbinger's TrustedLink INP software with its Peachtree Business Internet Suite to lets small business create a Web presence in less than an hour.

Harbinger also has a venture with BellSouth Telecommunications, which ironically is also a CheckFree customer for E-Bill, its online billing service. Another E-bill customer is GPU, formerly General Public Utilities, the holding company for almost 2 million electric utility customers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

E-Bill will eventually be incorporated into CheckFree's offerings to banks, but first it goes onto the Web, where its bill-paying functions can be combined with interactive ads to replace the inserts sent by mail with most utility bills.

"Electronic billing is the next big step in electronic commerce," Mark Johnson, president of CheckFree Business Services, said. "This initial introduction of E-Bill is establishing the infrastructure that will enable financial institutions to include electronic bill delivery as part of their total electronic commerce solution."