Checkfree Corp. continued its buying spree with the announcement of plans to buy a Portland, Ore.-based electronic systems and services company.

The Columbus, Ohio, electronic bill payment processor and home banking software provider said it has agreed to acquire Interactive Solutions Corp., a software systems developer and integrator. The price was not disclosed.

Interactive Solutions, a two-year-old company with 25 employees, should help Checkfree extend its financial services to the Internet. Checkfree has directly or indirectly helped develop home banking and bill payment services for more than 120 financial institutions.

"Financial institutions have been telling us they want to be able to deliver real financial services interactively this year - not just home pages, and not two years from now," said Pete Kight, president and chief executive officer of Checkfree.

With the acquisition, "Checkfree has the ability to provide that interactive platform today so that financial institutions may enhance their consumer and corporate relationships through the new Internet distribution channel," he said.

This acquisition is the latest in a recent string of strategic purchases and partnerships aimed at positioning Checkfree as an all-around home banking service provider.

Among the recent deals, Checkfree is in the process of acquiring Servantis Systems Inc., Norcross, Ga. The deal is to close next month. Servantis, a maker of home banking software, would help put Checkfree in position to offer front-end as well as processing services.

And that would put it in competition with the likes of Intuit Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Checkfree also has forged recent alliances with Fiserv Inc., Milwaukee, and Electronic Data Systems Corp., Plano, Tex. Both offer electronic banking services to predominantly smaller financial institutions.

Mr. Kight said the Interactive Solutions deal would contribute to Checkfree's development of bill presentment pilots and to the company's financial electronic data interchange efforts.

Interactive Solutions helped CFI Proservices Inc. develop the latter's Windows-based home banking system, called Personal Branch.

Greg Myers, a spokesman for CFI, said the company would continue to work with Interactive Solutions and plans to work with Checkfree, as well.

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