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AT&T, CheckFree in Bill Payment Alliance

AT&T and electronic commerce software provider CheckFree today announced an agreement under which residential customers of AT&T will be able to pay their bills on the Internet using CheckFree's electronic billing services.

AT&T said the CheckFree alliance is the latest in a series of projects aimed at expanding its marketing, distribution, and customer service channels on the Internet.

Armed with CheckFree's technology, AT&T said customers can now pay their home bills using two methods; via the AT&T Web site or through a participating financial service. The AT&T Web site will enable customers to automatically pay bills from personal checking and savings accounts. Currently customers have the option of paying their bills online with credit cards.

Customers can also receive bills and pay them through Checkfree-supported online financial institutions such as Bank One, Chase Manhattan Bank, and Wells Fargo. Users can review bill summaries via a participating bank's site, and click to authorize payment through a personal checking or savings account. AT&T said customers can also employ Checkfree-supported Quicken 98 for Windows financial software for bill management.

The joint venture services are scheduled to launch during the third quarter of this year on the AT&T site. A later roll out will enable customers to pay bills through other CheckFree Web sites.

Under the agreement, CheckFree will provide the technology and back-office systems required, including Year 2000 compliance.

Financial specifics were not disclosed.