Financial electronic data interchange volumes are growing, boosted by the government's EFT '99 electronic payments mandate.

The directive required all government disbursements to be executed electronically as of last month.

Corporate electronic payments increased 17.5% in 1998, to 757 million transactions, totaling $11 trillion, according to the Herndon, Va.-based National Automated Clearing House Association. The EDI subset of corporate payments rose 43%, to 64.5 million.

Though congressional concerns have led to a scaling back of EFT '99, particularly as it relates to consumers, businesses cannot opt out so easily, said William Nelson, executive vice president of Nacha. "And those state mandates are real," he added.

Mr. Nelson said Nacha remains committed to increasing EDI-related automated clearing house volumes. Its electronic commerce council is planning several meetings with accounting software developers like Peachtree, SAP AG, Oracle, and Great Plains to influence them in developing EDI-capable systems.

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