NEW YORK - MasterCard International announced its electronic bill payment processing unit, known as the Remittance Processing Service, is having its busiest year so far.

The unit processed more than 4 million consumer bill payment transactions worth more than $1.2 billion in the first third of the year. The number of transactions is 70% higher than a year ago.

The rise reflects the increasing bank and merchant participation in the program. Close to 100 banks and more than 400 merchants currently are involved.

The most recent financial institutions to come aboard are Bank of Montreal, First Interstate, Household Bank, Norwest, and Wilmington Trust.

Among the newest merchants to sign on are Abercrombie & Fitch and Ameritech Illinois.

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