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Pac Bell, Southwestern Bell Sign with CheckFree

SBC Communications Inc. companies Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell signed with CheckFree for electronic billing and payment for Customers in California, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.

Customers in those states will be able to pay their bills at nearly 200 Web sites that offer CheckFree's electronic billing and payment services, including the U.S. Postal Service, Yahoo!, Quicken, Quicken.com, BankOne and Charles Schwab.

Once enrolled, Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell customers receive two final paper bills by mail and then all future bills will be sent electronically. Customers can then view their bill on demand, review current and outstanding account balances, access full bill detail from their personal computer and contact their customer service representatives via e-mail while online.

Electronic bill distribution and payments made to Southwestern Bell or Pacific Bell will be processed by CheckFree Genesis 2000, a fully integrated end-to-end electronic billing and payment engine. Financial arrangements among the companies were not disclosed.

The CheckFree electronic billing and payment service also will be available through Southwestern Bell's Web site and Pacific Bell's Web site.

CheckFree said its services now enable 3.5 million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically. The company has multi-year contracts with 157 companies to provide online billing and payment.