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RealTime IT News

First Data Snaps Up an E-Bill Outfit

Denver-based payment services giant First Data Corp. is acquiring E Commerce Group Inc. (ECG), an electronic bill payment and presentment company based in New York City.

Privately held ECG developed and markets Speedpay, a proprietary technology that allows companies to receive electronic bill payments through multiple sources including call centers, automated voice response units and the Internet.

First Data said the e-bill company will be operated as a part of its Western Union family of businesses. Financial terms were not disclosed.

First Data said the acquisition is in line with its goal for Western Union to expand into new markets and businesses through strategic acquisitions, and complements the company's current products and services, specifically the suite of bill payment services offered to commercial clients.

ECG's management team, including founder and CEO Darren Manelski, will remain in place.

Meanwhile, Gartner Inc. released a new report today saying that e-billing is quickly being adopted as the preferred way to send bills and collect payments.

The average large U.S.-based company sending invoices to businesses over the Internet can save at least $5.7 million per year, while the average large company sending invoices to consumers via e-billing can save at least $13.1 million per year, Gartner said its research shows.

In the B2B world, ROI can be achieved when just 2.3 percent of bills are viewed and paid over the Internet, Gartner said. B2C billers are able to achieve ROI with as little as a 9 percent adoption rate.