Xerox Corp. has joined the ranks of companies offering to help businesses send bills over the Internet.
The $19 billion company announced its Internet Presentment offering this week along with several other "integrated solutions" for the financial services industry.
Xerox's offering would help businesses create electronic bills.
The operation would be integrated with the printing of traditional paper bills, said Hugh Jarrett, manager of financial services and health-care- industry marketing at the Stamford, Conn.-based company.
Electronic bill presentment is a challenge to Xerox. Twenty thousand of its machines process paper bills, Mr. Jarrett said, and the company has been looking for ways to cash in on the transition to electronic bills instead of being hurt by it.
Avivah Litan, research director at GartnerGroup of Stamford, Conn., said Xerox's association with printing on paper is a problem.
"Billers are looking for Internet-savvy electronic commerce companies to help them," she said.
"When they hear about old vendors or banks-no matter how good the product is-they don't get as excited."
Xerox's new Internet Presentment system uses software from BlueGill Technologies Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich., to help businesses format their billing data for the Internet, Mr. Jarrett said.
Though electronic bill presentment is a hot topic among bankers, business managers, and software companies, only one major presentment system-Checkfree Holding Corp.'s E-Bill-is operating beyond the test phase.
Checkfree rival Transpoint, a joint venture of Microsoft Corp., First Data Corp., and Citigroup, plans to launch a similar system soon.
Mr. Jarrett said Xerox wants to work with both companies.
Xerox is testing Transpoint's system for billing its own corporate customers.