Banks look to expand bill payment services to the Internet

BPay, the electronic payments service run by the banks, is preparing a new service that will allow consumers to receive and pay all their bills on a single web-site.

By allowing consumers to log on and nominate which bills they wish to receive electronically through a central register, utilities and other services involved would then be notified. The consumer would then use a nominated site, perhaps their own mailbox or their bank’s web-site, to set up a secured service where the bills would be received.

In order to complete a payment the customer will merely have to open the web-site to ascertain which bill requires payment and indicate which account they wish to have funds deducted from to meet the bill amount. Automatic bill payments similar to current direct debit arrangements can also be allowed for bills under certain amounts.

BPay’s new venture will require a technology partner for the system which will be called the Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment System (EBPP), and work on the system is set to commence early in 2000.

The Australian Financial Review noted in a recent article that BPay’s current telephone and Internet payment service is currently growing at around 15% per month, with more than 1100 organisations which now allow customers to pay their accounts using this service.

Introduction of this service is likely to be warmly received by Internet users and BPay hope to capture this growth: 50% of those who do their banking on the Internet also use BPay.