Moneta Corp., an online alternative-payment processor, is introducing a new way for its bank customers to use its automated clearing house payment rails — for credit charges.

The Atlanta company, which processes payments using the ACH network, announced an agreement Monday with Equifax Inc., the Atlanta credit bureau, to use the Equifax credit-decision system, in real time, to supply instant transactional credit lines underwritten by a sponsoring bank.

Guido Sacchi, Moneta's chief executive, said the credit feature is to be released March 31. He said he expects customers to use this credit mostly for larger-ticket items, such as airline tickets. Delta Air Lines Inc. is the most prominent merchant that accepts Moneta payments.

Moneta is positioning the service as a bank-friendly alternative to Bill Me Later, the transactional credit service for online purchases that was bought in November 2008 by the alternative-payments industry leader, the PayPal unit of eBay Inc., Sacchi said. "It fits very well with the current economy and the current situation at the banks."

Banks have ridden out the credit crisis and recession by building up their capital positions, Sacchi said. "Now they find themselves with excess cash and excess liquidity but not enough creditworthy customers to lend it to."

Moneta, which introduced its ACH payment system in 2007, enrolls people in its service directly through its Web site and has been in testing since October with SunTrust Banks Inc. of Atlanta. Sacchi stopped short of saying that SunTrust would offer the credit service, and he said the company expects to announce two or three additional banks as users of its service in the next 60 days.

A SunTrust spokesman said the company would not comment on Moneta's credit service.