Countrywide Home Loans has introduced an automated debit service that will enable homeowners to pay their monthly mortgage bills electronically.

Countrywide is offering the service in partnership with CheckFree Holdings Corp. for $9.95 a month.

To use the service a customer transmits payment data, using a personal security code, to CheckFree by computer modem. Fixed payments, such as those on fixed-rate mortgages, are made on a regular schedule until the customer makes changes. CheckFree then disburses funds from the user's checking account via electronic transfer or check.

"For those consumers whose own bank or credit union does not offer electronic banking, this is an especially welcome service enhancement," said Tom Boone, managing director of loan administration for Countrywide.

Compiled by Snigdha Prakash

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