Barnett Hires Checkfree To Process Bill Payments

Checkfree Corp. has signed a five-year bill payment processing agreement with Barnett Banks Inc.

The deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, comes as the $40 billion-asset bank is preparing to offer on-line banking through a wider range of products.

Initially Barnett will offer services through personal financial management products from Intuit Inc. and Home Financial Network Inc.

Later it might offer services based on Microsoft Corp.'s Money software. Checkfree supports all these offerings.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Barnett had used a proprietary product called Desk Top Banking, offered in conjunction with the Prodigy on-line network.

The wider selection of software should attract more on-line banking customers and, by extension, boost electronic bill payment volume.

"We signed with Checkfree so we could support a broader array of product offerings to our customers," said Jerri Franz, a spokeswoman for Barnett.

Research by Checkfree, which is a leading processor, indicates home banking customers generally increase their on-line activity over time.

"They generally start out making five to seven transactions a month, but within three to six months they graduate to more mature levels of usage- say, 10 to 15 transactions a month," said Matthew Lewis, a spokesman for Norcross, Ga.-based Checkfree. RSA Offers Tool KitFor Implementing SET

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.-RSA Data Security Inc. announced commercial availability of its S/PAY 1.0 developer kit, an aid for implementing the Secure Electronic Transactions (SET) protocol.

The software tool kit was in test mode since last fall. RSA said it has already been put to use in several of the trials around the world of secure on-line credit card transactions.

Through Trintech Inc., the RSA system also figures in the recently announced Microsoft Wallet, part of an end-to-end SET payment package that Microsoft is jointly marketing with Hewlett-Packard Co. and Verifone Inc.

"The integration of the RSA-Trintech SET module with the Microsoft Wallet client payment platform will help establish RSA's SET engine as a standard," said RSA president Jim Bidzos.

RSA and Trintech are implementing SET in Europe with Bank of Ireland. RSA is also working with Digital Mall in South Africa, while NEC Corp. of Japan is planning to employ the Japanese version, J/PAY, in the Sumitomo Group's Virtual City project.

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