, September 14, 1998 — MSFDC, the joint venture of Microsoft and First Data Corp. in Internet bill delivery and payment, today announced that Citibank has taken a minority ownership in the venture. Concurrently, MSFDC has changed its name to TransPoint as a clearer reflection of its service and far-reaching partnerships.
Citibank joins six other financial institutions in piloting TransPoint E-Bills, the first seamless, fully integrated Internet bill service. Financial institutions find the service enticing because consumers access the TransPoint E-Bills service through the banks’ Web sites. As consumers surf their way to more convenient bill paying, banks increase the visibility and effectiveness of their Web sites with guaranteed frequent, repeated visits.
TransPoint E-Bills rescues consumers from much of the tedium of bill paying. Consumers no longer have to fill out bill stubs, address envelopes, run to the post office or pay for stamps. They simply use their PCs to access bank account information, details of bills and payment options. As part of the agreement with Citibank, TransPoint adds a new PayAnyone feature to its service. PayAnyone enables consumers to pay literally anyone – local dentist, day care provider or newspaper carrier -regardless of whether the participating biller delivers the bill electronically.
TransPoint also simplifies customer service for consumers, billers and banks. Most of the information for which consumers generally call a biller or a bank is available on the bill detail page or the financial institution’s site. This significantly decreases customer service calls, while increasing consumer convenience and satisfaction.
For billers, TransPoint E-Bills not only minimizes customer service costs, but also saves the biller 50-75 percent on billing costs. In most cases, billers currently pay $0.60 to $1.20 to send a single bill. With TransPoint E-Bills the cost per transaction is generally less than $0.35. Additionally, billers receive clean remittances (the equivalent of bill stubs in the paper world) that have not been touched by human hands. This leaves virtually no opportunity for the wrong check to be stuffed into the wrong envelope or for the check to be sent unsigned, errors that create large costs for billers.
Market research firm Killen & Associates predicts that by 2000, 12 percent of all bills, approximately 8 billion repetitive bills, will be presented electronically. TransPoint E-Bills will be commercially available toward the end of 1998.