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Visa, Checkfree to Create E-Payment Infrastructure

Visa U.S.A. and CheckFree said they plan to form a joint venture that will create the next generation electronic bill payment and remittance infrastructure for financial institutions and billers.

Combining the funds transfer services of Visa's ePay electronic debit and settlement product with CheckFree's remittance data services, the new joint venture will enable financial institutions to offer their customers an end-to-end, electronic billing and payment capability.

"Our joint venture with CheckFree enables Visa to combine its core strengths in the electronic payments realm with the resources of the leading electronic bill payments processor," said William E. Stewart, executive vice president of Visa U.S.A.

Said Peter J. Kight, chairman and CEO of CheckFree: "This alliance marks the beginning of a new era as we move to all-electronic delivery and settlement for electronic bill payments and even small business and consumer-to-consumer payments."

The joint venture infrastructure will work seamlessly with all major front- ends being used by financial institutions, including the Integrion Financial Network's IFS platform, the companies said.

Integrion said it played a key role in bringing together Visa (an owner of Integrion) and CheckFree (Integrion's strategic partner for bill presentment and payment processing). Integrion is an alliance between 17 of the nation's largest financial institutions, IBM and Visa U.S.A., collectively representing more than 75% of the nation's banking households.