Banks could miss the mark on the next "killer app" of on-line banking - electronic bill presentment and payments, or EBPP. In part, this may be the result of a misconception: Many bankers continue to view EBPP as an end-game opportunity to acquire additional data for cross-selling. But that will never happen. Pushing EBPP as a cross-selling vehicle delays its widespread adoption, allowing nonbank competitors time to enter and dominate the business.

The point is that there is enough money to be made by simply assuming the role of disinterested bill aggregator. Banks don't have to "mine" the billing data - an activity that may be seen as violating the sacred space between them and their customers. Banks can in effect tell the billers: "Keep your data. We'll content ourselves with operating the back office and 'switch'."

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