Citibank, reaffirming its support of open standards for electronic bills, said it plans to add MasterCard Internationals Remote Payment and Presentment Service to its lineup of electronic billing providers.
The MasterCard networks relationships with biller service providers would make more than 250 types of bills available to the Citigroup Inc. subsidiary. Citi said it will present the bills to its customers using technology from its consumer service provider, Paytrust of Lawrenceville, N.J., which is also joining the MasterCard service.
The MasterCard plan, announced Monday, is another example of how Citibank is throwing its weight behind open standards in favor of proprietary EBPP providers such as CheckFree Corp., with which Citi does not have a relationship.
Citibank forged a similar alliance with the bank-owned consortium Spectrum LLC in May. Like MasterCard, Spectrum, formed in 1999 by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., First Union Corp., and Wells Fargo & Co., has developed an open EBPP infrastructure for linking consumer service providers and billing service providers.
We want to see e-bill distribution catalyze in the market, and we are supporting open standards as the means to do that, said Citibanks Susan Ehrlich, vice president and director of consumer EBPP. Wed like to see MasterCard and Spectrum be successful in encouraging billers to adopt electronic presentment and push the adoption of open standards, because billers dont want the confusion of multiple integrations.
For Paytrust, joining the MasterCard service means that it can also present the bills available through the network to its non-Citibank customers. Edward G. McLaughlin, Paytrusts chief executive officer, said, We think this is a significant step to drive the presentment market forward.
MasterCard has provided electronic payment processing for numerous banks for more than a decade through what it called its Remittance Processing Service, a forerunner to RPPS. Last spring it announced it planned to add presentment to its payment service, and in September unveiled RPPS. Cathleen Conforti, a vice president of the RPPS unit, said the service has relationships with eight consumer service providers and eight billing service providers.
Connectivity and easy access are essential to the growing acceptance of electronic bill payment and presentment services, Ms. Conforti said in an interview. The addition of Citibank and Paytrust to MasterCard RPPS will accelerate the availability of electronic bill payment and presentment services to a growing number of consumers.