Deluxe Data Corp. has an agreement in principle to resell home banking and bill payment services from Online Resources and Communications Corp.
Deluxe, a subsidiary of St. Paul-based Deluxe Corp. sells ATM processing, check printing, and other services to more than 800 banks. "This is our initial foray into the home-banking market," said Walter Healey, director of direct banking for Deluxe Data. "We plan to do other things in the future."
To increase income, ATM networks and their processors have been seeking ways to expand their offerings. Home banking is seen as a natural outgrowth, as bill-payment transactions can be debited from consumer checking accounts through the ATM networks, creating an inexpensive process for banks offering the service.
Consumers would be able to pay bills by using the service through home computers, screen phones, and touch-tone telephones.
Matthew P. Lawlor, Online chairman and chief executive, said Deluxe's connection to all the ATM networks as well as its extensive bank client network makes it an ideal partner. But, he said, the home-banking software company, based in MacLean, Va., will continue to "market ourselves and sell our services to other partners."
Deluxe's 400 sales representatives will sell the home-banking service as part of a package of offerings, said Mr. Healey.
Online's product is "attractive to smaller institutions who want fast, affordable installations," he said.
David E. Weisman, an analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass., said the home-banking company is "trying to carve a niche with small community banks and slightly larger banks that outsource processing."
Although "Online has some nice technology," he said, it can't compete with bigger providers like Intuit, Visa Interactive, or Checkfree. "Even if they get good penetration in small banks, that would be significantly less than a smaller percentage of large-bank customers."
The Most network - owned by Reston, Va.-based Internet Inc. - struck similar deals with Online Resources and with US Order, another home-banking service provider, giving it the ability to offer the new payment option to its more than 550 financial institution members.
CU Cooperative Systems Inc., an ATM network that serves more than 300 credit unions in the West and Southwest, made an agreement with Online in May.
Online Resources has processing agreements with many ATM networks and other processors. Besides Deluxe and the Most network, it has reselling agreements with the Honor network, CU Cooperative, Sterling Commerce, Ultra Data, and Syntellect.