The more things change in payment technologies, the more one thing stays the same: Customer-initiated electronic bill payments still can't seem to get over the last hurdle to mass acceptance.

That was the message at the Electronic Commerce and Payment Conference in New York the week before last. It was the 14th annual conference organized by the head of White Papers Inc., payment systems consultant George C. White, and the issues hashed over by a mix of bankers, corporate executives, and technology experts were just as perennial.

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