Five Paces, Inc. and CheckFree Corp announced a strategic partnership that significantly enhances the Internet banking choices available to financial institutions.
Atlanta-based Five Paces, a wholly owned subsidiary of Security First Network Bank is a provider of Internet-based software solutions for the banking and financial services industry. CheckFree, based in Columbus, Ohio, is the leading provider of electronic commerce services for financial institutions. CheckFree provides home banking and bill payment processing to more than 142 financial institutions.
Under the agreement:
-- CheckFree will provide bill-payment processing for the Five Paces Virtual Financial Manager (VFM) suite of software solutions.
-- CheckFree will have the opportunity to re-sell the VFM suite to financial institutions as another of CheckFree's Internet-based solutions for electronic banking.
-- Five Paces will have the opportunity to re-sell the Windows NT Internet banking platform developed by CheckFree.
-- Five Paces can continue to utilize CheckFree's expertise in electronic bill payment as part of the solution Five Paces markets to banks and other financial institutions.
CheckFree and Five Paces have emerged as dominant providers of software and services for electronic transactions, particularly relating to electronic banking. Their strategic partnership is a major step forward in the new generation of electronic transaction and financial information management systems.
"Five Paces' Internet banking platform is among the best in the business," said Peter J. Kight, Chairman and CEO of CheckFree. "This platform, when coupled with CheckFree's extremely reliable bill payment processing, provides a compelling choice for financial institutions. This agreement is one more illustration of our commitment to provide financial institutions with the broadest possible array of choices for home banking solutions."
Said Michael McChesney, CEO of Five Paces, "The dust is now beginning to settle in the market for PC-based and Internet-based electronic commerce solutions. The stronger companies with truly innovative technologies are joining to allow banks, credit card issuers, and financial institutions of all types to offer a powerful mix of on-line products to their customers."
Mr. McChesney continued, "The integration of the core capabilities of CheckFree and Five Paces will give financial institutions the most flexibility in designing customized electronic banking solutions. This means that, ultimately, the consumer will benefit."
Applications available through VFM include checking, electronic bill payment and the ability to open savings, money market accounts and certificates of deposit. Similar to popular personal financial management applications, VFM also has reporting and analysis capabilities so consumers can categorize and track expenses. Applications to be added in the near future to VFM by Five Paces include loans, merchant accounts, brokerage and insurance.
Among well-known users of VFM are Security First Network Bank, the world's first Internet bank, and CheckFree's bill payment services.
According to McChesney, electronic commerce via the Internet provides consumers with key advantages over PC-based software. These advantages include:
-- Timeliness of information. Because home pages reside on the bank's server rather than the customer's computer, the interface can be changed at any point to reflect up-to-the-minute offerings or announcements.
-- Increased flexibility. The Internet lets consumers choose when and where to access their account information. Using PC-based software, consumers are limited to computers that have the software already loaded.
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