PNC Bank Corp. is taking steps to deliver bills over the Internet to home banking customers.

The Pittsburgh-based company plans to start a test in June and hopes to go live with the service by the end of the year, said Janet Hoyt, electronic commerce consultant at PNC Bank.

The timing underscores the bank's aggressiveness in trying to seize an electronic bill presentment initiative.

"PNC is known as a really smart bank that 'gets' this application," said Avivah Litan, research director at GartnerGroup in Stamford, Conn. "They're pretty quick in getting this up and running."

PNC is competing with Bank One Corp. to be next in launching on-line bill presentment. So far, First Union Corp. is the only bank presenting bills to customers on-line.

All three banks are using Checkfree Corp.'s E-Bill system. PNC customers will be able to pay bills from the 12 companies presenting bills through E- Bill.

Telecommunications giant MCI Worldcom was the latest to start sending bills electronically with E-Bill. Checkfree has signed up 43 billers, which are in various stages of implementing the system.

On-line brokers and other financial institutions have embraced electronic bill presentment more quickly than banks, Ms. Litan said. Charles Schwab & Co., Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., and Prudential Securities all use E-Bill. Users of Intuit Inc.'s Quicken software can receive bills using the system.

Banks must catch up in this area to avoid losing customers to Internet portals and brokerages, Ms. Litan said.

PNC will integrate bill presentment into its Internet banking system, Account Link by Web. In use for almost a year, the system uses the Integrion Interactive Financial Services platform. PNC is a founding member of Integrion Financial Network, a consortium owned by 15 banks, Visa, and International Business Machines Corp.

"Integrion intends to deliver solutions that make Internet banking, bill delivery, and payment an easy and highly reliable proposition for consumers-a one-stop shop at their bank Web site," said William M. Fenimore Jr., chief executive officer of Integrion. "We are very enthusiastic about PNC Bank's leading initiatives in this arena."

PNC's use of E-Bill extends beyond its consumer banking effort. The bank recently agreed to offer it to corporate customers, said Valerie G. Kramer, vice president in treasury management at PNC.

Ms. Kramer said PNC Bank continues to move along with plans to test bill presentment software from Transpoint, a Checkfree rival. The bank hopes to use Transpoint for some of its business-to-business bill presentment services.

Transpoint, which just announced a bill presentment test with Wachovia Corp. (see article above), "is still a formidable presence in the market," Ms. Kramer said.

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