Compass Bank of Birmingham, Ala., and InterWest Bank of Oak Harbor, Wash., have become the first two banks to enable online customers to view and pay electronic bills consolidated by Transpoint LLC.

The launchings in recent days of Transpoint's E-Bills service at the two banks are landmark events for the joint venture of Microsoft Corp., First Data Corp., and Citibank.

Transpoint has been saying for some time that it would distribute its bills through bank Web sites. But the Englewood, Colo.-based venture has had several delays in doing so, and at least one financial company dropped out of its pilot program last year.

"Transpoint's consumer research and focus groups discovered that consumers want to pay bills at Web sites they visit frequently, sites that offer other services, and sites they feel are secure," said Lewis Levin, president and chief executive officer of Transpoint. "Bank Web sites are perfect channels for online bill pay."

Since last May, Transpoint has been presenting bills on behalf of its corporate customers at its own Web site and at Microsoft's MSN MoneyCentral personal finance site. Intuit Inc. is also expected to begin presenting Transpoint bills to users of its Quicken financial software and its Web site.

Transpoint said it expects more banks to go live with its service in the next few months.

Sue Riney, a vice president at InterWest Bank, said Transpoint's electronic bill presentment service will make receiving and paying bills more convenient for its customers. The service will also bring them to the bank's Web site frequently, she said.

InterWest's parent, InterWest Bancorp, has $2 billion of assets; its headquarters are on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound.

Compass Bank's parent, Compass Bancshares Inc., has $18.15 billion of assets and more than 300 branches in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, and Texas.

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