REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 16, 1997 — Microsoft, Intuit, and CheckFree announced today that they are creating a single, unified technical specification, called Open Financial Exchange, that will enable financial institutions to exchange financial data over the Internet with Web users and users of popular software such as Quicken and Microsoft Money. The Open Financial Exchange specification is the convergence of Microsoft’s Open Financial Connectivity, Intuit’s OpenExchange, and CheckFree’s electronic banking and payment protocols.
In a related development, Intuit, Microsoft, CheckFree and Integrion Financial Network said Open Financial Exchange-enabled software will link with the Integrion Financial Services platform and its Gold Message Standard. Integrion banks will be able to link seamlessly with personal financial management software including Quicken and Microsoft Money, and processors including CheckFree, beginning later this year. The companies also said they intend to converge Open Financial Exchange and Gold into a single specification in 1998.
In addition, the companies are working with Visa Interactive to link Open Financial Exchange to its ADMS network, giving financial institutions easy access to Visa’s ADMS billpay system. Edify Corporation and Security First Technologies have also announced their intention to support Open Financial Exchange. Edify Corporation will integrate Open Financial Exchange into its Electronic Banking System. And Security First Technologies will integrate Open Financial Exchange into its suite of message formats supported by its Virtual Financial Manager Internet banking engine, thus enabling its bank partners to easily support any client interface that is compatible with the specification.
Open Financial Exchange was developed in concert with financial services companies and in response to financial institutions’ desires for a simplified method for the exchange of financial data. The unified specification will streamline the process financial institutions need to go through to connect to multiple customer interfaces, processors and systems integrators. The companies said that by making it more compelling for financial institutions to implement online services, Open Financial Exchange will open the door for consumers, enabling them to manage personal finances online with the institution of their choice.
“Convergence around a unified specification will accelerate the adoption of electronic financial connectivity and represents a dramatic benefit for financial services providers and their customers,” said Bill Harris, executive vice president of Intuit.
“Financial institutions are in need of a simple, low-cost solution to help them rapidly adopt and deploy online banking and brokerage services,” said Lewis Levin, vice president of Microsoft’s Desktop Financial Division. “By working with Intuit and CheckFree to create one specification, we’re speeding the development process that needs to take place in order to make Internet financial services a reality.”
Pete Kight, CEO of CheckFree said “Open Financial Exchange means financial institutions have control over the way they offer electronic solutions — they can choose the interfaces and processing platforms that are the best for their particular customer base.”
Bill Fenimore, managing director of Integrion, said “This cooperative effort supports Integrion’s operating principle of providing an open, standards-based product offering to financial institutions through multiple access devices. We are confident that Integrion’s participation in joint endeavors such as this one will result in an increasingly valuable service for the end consumer.”
The Open Financial Exchange specification will be publicly available for implementation by any financial institution or vendor, and will be utilized by Microsoft, Intuit and CheckFree as the primary mechanism for supporting financial data exchange in their products and services beginning in the fall of 1997. After a one month review and comment period by banks, brokers and solution providers, a final version of the specification will be published in mid-February.
Intuit and Microsoft will implement Open Financial Exchange across their entire lines of financial software products and Web-based interfaces, including Intuit’s Quicken, QuickBooks, BankNOW and TurboTax®
and Microsof’s Microsoft Money and Microsoft Investor. CheckFree will provide access to its payment, bill delivery and portfolio management transaction processing for Open Financial Exchange-enabled applications, including those published by Microsoft and Intuit.
About Open Financial Exchange
Open Financial Exchange is a unified specification for the electronic exchange of financial data between financial institutions, businesses and consumers via the Internet. It is designed to support a wide range of financial activities including consumer and small business banking; consumer and small business bill payment; investments, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The companies plan to add other financial services including financial planning, insurance and tax preparation and filing.
Intuit, Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU), a financial software and Web-based services company, develops and markets Quicken, the leading personal finance software; TurboTax, the best-selling tax preparation software; and QuickBooks, the most popular small business accounting software. Intuit’s Quicken Financial Network ( http://www.qfn.com ) offers a variety of news, information and market spaces including the No. 1 mutual fund Web site, NETworth.galt.com, and the most dynamic personal insurance Web site, Quicken InsureMarket.com. Intuit’s products and services enable individuals, small businesses and financial professionals to better manage their financial lives and businesses
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day. Microsoft is the publisher of Microsoft Investor ( http://investor.MSN.com ) and the Microsoft Money personal financial management program.
Founded in 1981, Atlanta-based CheckFree Corporation (NASDAQ:CKFR) is the leading provider of electronic commerce services, software and related products for more than 780,000 consumers, 1,000 businesses and 850 financial institutions. CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable its customers to make electronic payments and collections, automate paper-based recurring financial transactions and conduct secure transactions on the Internet. CheckFree currently provides electronic remittance processing for more than 600 merchants across the country.
Representing over half the retail banking population in North America, over 60 million households, Integrion enables banks to play a central role in determining the manner and format in which home banking and electronic commerce services are offered to their customers. Integrion is owned and operated by its member banks and IBM. The owners of Integrion are: ABN AMRO, North America, BANC ONE, Bank of America, Barnett Bank, Comerica, First Bank System, First Chicago NBD, Fleet Financial Group, IBM, KeyCorp, Mellon Bank, Michigan National Bank, NationsBank, Norwest, PNC Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Washington Mutual, Inc.
About Visa Interactive
Visa Interactive, a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa International, offers turnkey remote-banking and bill-payment solutions which its member financial institutions can brand, price and deliver to their customers.
Quotes from industry leaders supportingOpen Financial Exchange
Visa continues to support and participate in efforts which result in open industry standards that benefit our member financial institutions.
Chris Schellhorn, president and chief operating officer of Visa Interactive.
“Fidelity commends Microsoft, Intuit and CheckFree for this kind of customer-friendly industry cooperation. Fidelity can bring online financial services to market for a broader range of our customers more quickly when we can write to one data interchange format instead of many. This streamlines our work and helps us better serve our customers.”
Bruce Ferland, senior vice president, Fidelity Retail Electronic Commerce Group
“Schwab is actively pursuing opportunities utilizing these standards. In terms of devel opment, maintenance, and resources, a single, consolidated specification removes an expensive burden from the financial institutions. It is a significant milestone in the evolution of the online environment.” Debbie Naganuma, director of Electronic Brokerage Product Development, Charles Schwab and Co., Inc.
“We’re pleased that First Union, as well as other financial institutions, will be able to save significant development expense and focus on implementing a single standard. Open Financial Exchange will speed the rollout of remote delivery in the U.S. and provide customers with a choice of two top tier Personal Finance Manager software packages.”
Edgar Brown, First Union senior vice president.
“Bank One strongly supports efforts which move the industry closer to a common standard. This initiative represents another major step in the realization that eliminating costly duplication allows us to concentrate on more important issues — fulfilling the individual needs of our customers.”
Bruce Luecke, general manager of Bank One Interactive Delivery Services
Bank fuer Arbeit und Wirtschaft :
“This new specification brings a great advantage for both our customers and financial institutions, by allowing the support for multiple products. We therefore welcome this announcement.”
Dipl. Ing. Hans Guenter Schanznig, CIO, director BAWAG, Bank fuer Arbeit und Wirtschaft, Austria.
Chase Manhattan :
“We are delighted by the convergence of these two specifications. This technology will allow Chase to offer consistent on-line financial services while giving our customers a choice of personal financial management software.”
Michael Papantoniou, vice president, Chase Manhattan Bank.
“This is great news for consumers. It gives them access to the provider of their choice, while eliminating the extra costs inherent in multiple proprietary interfaces. Citibank has long advocated open interfaces, and we believe this is a major step forward for the industry.”
Jerry Rao, division executive, Citibank Development Division.
“NationsBank applauds the cooperation shown by all of the parties in moving to a common set of standards to exchange financial information over the Internet. Open standards will give consumers the widest choice at the lowest cost. Low cost and customer value is the reason banks formed Integrion.”
Jim Dixon, president of NationsBanc Services Company
“The move to Open Financial Exchange by three of the largest service and systems providers to the financial services industry is a giant leap towards bringing customers the online service and information they want. Standardization of technology will allow us to quickly offer more services to a broader group of customers at a much lower development cost. This will accelerate the expansion of Internet banking.”
Dudley Nigg, executive vice president, Alternative Distribution Group, Wells Fargo Bank.
Royal Bank of Scotland:
“We have previously input to the OFC specification and are delighted with this decision to amalgamate competing specifications. This can only lead to benefits for consumers and financial institutions alike and give further momentum to the development of electronic banking and finance.”
Bill Bourgourd, head of Electronic Communications for Royal Bank of Scotland’s Retail Bank.
Bank of Montreal
“Open Financial Exchange will be great for our clients. It means we can deliver more value and unique services to our clients instead of focusing on accommodating multiple and complicated technical specifications.”
David Revell, vice-president, mbanx and Electronic Financial Services, Bank of Montreal.