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CheckFree Will Incorporate Equifax ID Technology

Electronic billing and payment company CheckFree signed a multi-year agreement with Equifax Inc. Wednesday, allowing it to incorporate the Equifax Secure authentication engine into its EBP enrollment process.

The move will allow faster verification of customer identity as they sign up to view and pay bills electronically, CheckFree said.

Financial arrangements were not disclosed, but the multi-year agreement will be exclusive to CheckFree in the aggregated EBP market, the companies said.

CheckFree said the real-time solution will enhance ease-of-use and "immediate gratification" as consumers try the service. The Equifax authentication engine will virtually eliminate manual authentication processes, including the need for consumers to enter an authentication code that arrives by mail. Further, the Equifax technology will protect consumer privacy, reduce the threat of identity fraud and reduce fraudulent payment risk for businesses.

"With faster authentication, CheckFree can more closely meet expectation levels for immediacy that Internet consumers have come to expect as they try new services, while maintaining the highest levels of security and privacy required for authorizing transactions," said Pete Sinisgalli, president and chief operating officer at CheckFree.

The Equifax technology will also be used in CheckFree's next generation payment products, announced earlier this year, that will enable consumers to send payments electronically for person-to-person and person-to-Internet merchant payments.

Unlike traditional methods that rely solely on wallet information such as Social Security number, driver's license number and address to identify users online, the Equifax authentication engine requests both financial and non-financial information that should be known only to the user. The engine compares and analyzes multiple elements in the furnished information against consumer data from Equifax and other consumer and business information.

"CheckFree's decision to use the power of Equifax's authentication technology will enhance the consumer experience by minimizing steps leading to adoption and potentially accelerate e-commerce activity with greater efficiency and protection for consumers and businesses," said Rich Crutchfield, executive vice president and group executive for Equifax's e-commerce initiatives."



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