CheckFree Contract Extended by Chase

ATLANTA - Chase Manhattan Corp. has signed a multiyear extension of its contract with CheckFree Holdings Corp. for electronic bill payment services. Terms were not disclosed.Chase, with First Union Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., is developing Spectrum, a bank-owned electronic bill payment and presentment service that is being positioned as an alternative to CheckFree, which dominates the business.

Spectrum plans to have payment capabilities for electronically presented bills this spring and will have the ability to pay anyone, including recipients that cannot get payments electronically, by yearend.

Meanwhile Chase's retail home banking services group will continue using CheckFree's services as needed on a nonexclusive basis.

"Chase is committed to bringing the benefits of electronic billing and payment to its customers as part of its online financial services strategy," said Bruce Zimmerman, senior vice president of national consumer services at Chase.

CheckFree started its electronic billing and payment service, called E-Bill, in 1997. It is used by three million people to receive and pay bills online.

TradeCard Gets $10M Of Venture Capital

NEW YORK - TradeCard Inc., an online network created to facilitate international trade, has received a total of $10 million of venture capital from Softbank Finance Group, Mitsubishi Corp., and Mitsui & Co."These companies are ideal partners for us," said Kurt Cavano, chairman and chief executive officer of TradeCard. "We welcome their backing and look forward to further working with them and their network of businesses as TradeCard expands into the Japanese market."

The capital adds to $53 million invested in TradeCard by E.M. Warburg Pincus & Co. in February 1999.

New York-based TradeCard, founded in 1993 by the World Trade Centers Association of New York, is an alternative to the banking industry's letter-of-credit business.

TradeCard officials said the company charges users $150 per settled transaction, a fraction of the cost of a traditional trade deal financed by a letter of credit.

Web Service for Gays In Links with 12 Sites

NEW YORK - An online financial service for gays and lesbians,, has announced 12 alliances with Web sites that provide financial and career-related information.The sites, including Barron's Online, Inc., SimplyStocks, and Wall Street Journal Interactive, are to offer proprietary content on the site.

Walter B. Schuber, founder and chief executive officer of, said it "is seeking to partner with top-tier companies that want to reach this traditionally underserved niche. Every company has gay and lesbian customers and should be treating them as a distinct market and addressing their unique needs."

HSBC Joins, A World Trade System

LONDON - HSBC Holdings PLC has joined, an Internet system for world trade that was begun last September.HSBC joins FleetBoston Financial Corp., Citigroup Inc., and Chase Manhattan Corp. in using the system.

"HSBC recognizes the importance of embracing leading-edge e-commerce trade initiatives," said Neil Chantry, manager of HSBC's group trade services. " will allow us to meet our customers' needs by providing a secure system for international trade over the Internet."

HSBC, with $569 billion of assets, has 5,000 offices, in 82 countries and territories.

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