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Citibank Invests in E-Billing Service

MSFDC, the joint venture between Microsoft Corp. and First Data Corp., today announced that Citibank will join the venture with an equity investment.

The combined entity, which serves as a payment and billing service, also changed its name to TransPoint, "to better reflect the service it provides for consumers, billers and financial institutions," the company said in a statement. TransPoint's Internet bill delivery and payment service will now be called TransPoint E-Bills, the firm said.

Citibank said it will acquire a significant minority interest in the venture, though Microsoft and First Data will retain a majority stake in equal proportions. Financial specifics were not disclosed. Citibank also will be represented on the TransPoint board of directors.

As part of the agreement, Citibank will provide TransPoint with access to its "pay anyone" capability, designed to enable consumers to pay any bill or make any payment regardless of whether the participating biller delivers the bill electronically. Also, Citibank's customers will have access to TransPoint's electronic payment services.

TransPoint's Internet billing technology will also be included in Citibank's new e-Citi suite of commerce solutions. The solutions are designed to support the growing e-commerce industry.

"This relationship is a natural fit and really strengthens our service offering," said Lewis Levin, vice president of desktop finance at Microsoft. "Citibank's leadership in e-commerce innovation, combined with TransPoint's expertise in Internet bill delivery and payment technology, will accelerate the adoption of the service by billers, banks and consumers."