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CheckFree Unveils Hosted Billing

CheckFree Corp. , a 20-year financial electronic commerce services veteran, this week debuted new packaged software and hosting options for delivering bills and statements over the Internet.

The new offerings speed implementations by providing "out of the box" capabilities for specific vertical markets, limiting customization options while still giving billers flexible alternatives for running and maintaining those applications.

CheckFree i-Series Select delivers pre-packaged, industry-specific software for electronic bill creation, distribution and payment for companies that want to deploy a biller direct solution for delivery of e-bills through its site and/or a distributed solution for bill delivery through nearly 300 Web sites run by financial institutions, brokerage firms and Internet portals served by CheckFree's distribution network.

Tailored packages for the financial services, telecommunications, insurance and utility industries enable quick, lower-cost implementations of the most commonly required functionality for e-bills and e-statements. Select versions are crafted for companies that do not need to integrate business-to-business billing functions, and that do not need to build highly tailored features. Implementations can be completed as quickly as 90 days, and license fees are as low as $200,000 for the base software system and $50,000 to $150,000 for industry-specific solution packs.

Companies who need advanced features or more customization can choose the standard i-Series 4.0, which enables companies to integrate business-to-business and business-to-consumer bills and statements, distribute bills through CheckFree's network, deploy more customized biller direct sites, and enable CheckFree guaranteed payments, all from a single platform. Software license fees start at $400,000.

Hosting Options
Regardless of whether a customer chooses a standard or Select version, CheckFree now offers software hosting options. This enables companies that want the control and flexibility derived from owning the software, but do not choose to commit their own IT resources to manage the implementation and maintain the application, to deploy a solution quickly and cost-effectively. Implementations for simple deployments can be as short as 30 days.

Available hosting options include Distribution, Biller Direct or ASP Hosting. The Distribution option allows billers to outsource e-bill creation and bill detail hosting to CheckFree. Bills can be distributed to any endpoint in CheckFree's broad distribution network, including banks, brokerages, credit unions, personal financial management software and Internet portals. CheckFree currently hosts bills and statements for more than 50 companies. With Biller Direct, in addition to having bills distributed through CheckFree's network, a biller can arrange for CheckFree to host the application that enables bills and statements to be viewed and paid at the biller's branded site.

The ASP Software Hosting option enables billers to purchase software and have it hosted by CheckFree with more robust services. These include dedicated software; expanded biller Web-site capabilities, including Market Direct, the leading 1-to-1 EBP marketing tool; and a simple transition path for those billers that want to launch an e-billing or e-statement offering in a simple, fully outsourced model, but then later migrate to an in-house solution. Hosting charges range from $2,500 per month to $15,000 per month depending on application complexity.

"Billers are telling us that they want to get in market with e-billing and e-statement solutions more quickly, and indicated that pre-packaged features that are specifically designed for how their industries handle bills and statements would be a catalyst for deployment," said Tom Stampiglia, president of CheckFree i-Solutions.

As a software group within Atlanta-based CheckFree Corp., CheckFree i-Solutions is a leading provider of end-to-end business-to-consumer and business-to-business solutions for e-billing and payment and e-statement delivery. CheckFree i-Solutions offers CheckFree i-Series and i-Series Select software for e-bill and e-statement creation, i-Processing services that include payment and distribution through nearly 300 financial services sites and customer care, and i-Hosting services that provide full outsourcing of these solutions.



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