Midwest Payment Systems has been granted patent No. 5,649,117 for BillPayer 2000, an electronic bill payment service that can automatically pay varying bill amounts on varying due dates.

After enrollment in BillPayer 2000 by telephone, bills are paid automatically, unless the customer wants to change the amount of payment, delay payment, or reverse a bill that has been paid.

Midwest Payment Systems, a division of Fifth Third Bank, said it provides BillPayer 2000 to more than 50,000 customers of 14 companies and plans to have 150,000 customers enrolled by yearend. Among the corporate participants are Warner Cable, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co.

Midwest Payment Systems is also developing a related product, BillFiler, that would deliver bills to consumers electronically.

"BillPayer 2000 is a service that both companies and their consumers can use to better manage monthly bill payments," said Barry L. Boerstler, senior vice president of Midwest Payment Systems. "It only takes two and a half minutes to sign up, and it can save customers several hours of writing checks and mailing payments each month."

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