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eBay, Visa partner in bill-pay deal

As part of the two-year agreement between the two companies, eBay will waive its Billpoint transaction fees on auctions where bidders purchase their items using a Visa card.

eBay announced today that it has teamed with Visa to promote its new Billpoint payment system.

As part of the two-year agreement between the two companies, eBay will waive its Billpoint transaction fees until the end of May on auctions where bidders purchase their items using a Visa card. Beginning April 10, Visa will market the new payment service through print and television and ads.

The two companies declined to discuss the financial details of the deal.

"The trust that consumers have in the Visa brand will enable us to enter new markets like the person-to-person environment and provide eBay's online shoppers with the most convenient way to pay for everything from Beanie Babies to Elvis records," Visa executive vice president Bond Isaacson said.

The Billpoint system allows auction buyers to use a credit card to pay for items they purchase on eBay and to conduct the transaction online. To date, most online auction purchases have been completed offline through personal checks or money orders.

Earlier this month, eBay announced a partnership with Wells Fargo to develop Billpoint. As part of the deal, the San Francisco-based bank agreed to buy 35 percent of Billpoint and to help the company with customer service and processing payments.

San Jose-based eBay bought Billpoint last May and began beta testing the Billpoint system with some of its top sellers in the fourth quarter of last year. The company plans to open the system to all of its sellers in the middle of next month, as the marketing agreement kicks in.

Billpoint is one of several companies that allow consumers and small businesses to accept credit cards online. Other companies that offer such services include PayPal.com and Idealab-backed PayMe.com

Amazon.com offers a service similar to Billpoint for its auctions and zShops customers.