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Intuit Will Create Framework For Financial Data Exchange Using the Net, Support for Mac Users


Intuit Inc. announced that it will coordinate the development of the industry's most comprehensive framework for exchanging consumer and small business financial data using the Internet. Called OpenExchange, the framework is an integrated collection of easy-to-use specifications and protocols designed to make it easier and less expensive for a wide range of financial services providers to build links for electronic financial data exchange and communication using the Internet. Intuit is working with technology partners and financial services providers to define OpenExchange, the initial components of which will be published by year-end 1996. "The concept behind the OpenExchange framework is the result of discussions with our financial services customers and technology partners," said Bill Harris, executive vice president of Intuit. "OpenExchange represents a breakthrough in the industry's efforts to accelerate the widespread adoption of electronic financial data exchange in that no existing approach offers as much choice for all participants or encompasses as broad an array of financial industries and activities."

OpenExchange is Open, Comprehensive and Secure

OpenExchange is a comprehensive approach to electronic financial data exchange that builds on existing Internet standards and protocols, and adds extensions and improvements to meet the needs of a wide range of financial industries and interactions. It is unique in that it will allow all participants in financial interactions -- consumers, small businesses, financial advisors, financial services providers, processors, merchants, billers and government agencies -- to communicate directly using the Internet. OpenExchange will be open, comprehensive and secure.

-- Open. OpenExchange will allow any front-end software or interface to connect with any back-end processing system. This will allow financial services providers the flexibility to deliver solutions by mixing and matching a variety of front ends with back- end processing systems. Financial services providers can develop their own solutions, purchase solutions from any technology provider or subcontract services from any third-party processing company. Whenever possible, OpenExchange will be based on accepted industry standards and protocols for security, network transport and data specification. OpenExchange will extend these standards as necessary to encompass a broad array of financial interactions and will be open, published and available to be licensed by any interested party. OpenExchange framework specifications will be available to all parties at no cost, although technology providers such as Intuit may choose to charge customers or financial services providers for the use of specific implementations within their own products. Future development of OpenExchange will include input from an advisory group of representatives from financial services providers, processing companies, technology providers, governmental organizations and industry associations.

-- Comprehensive. Unlike existing specifications for financial data exchange, which focus primarily on banking transactions, OpenExchange will support the full range of financial activities involving many types of financial services providers, including banks, brokerage firms, mutual fund and insurance companies as well as government agencies. Specific financial activities OpenExchange will address include:

-- bank statement data -- credit card statement data -- consumer bill payment -- business bill payment -- interactive billing -- brokerage statement data -- mutual fund statement data -- 401(k) account statement data -- investment trading instructions -- financial planning data -- mortgage, loan and credit card applications and data -- property and casualty insurance applications and data -- life insurance applications and data -- income tax filing -- income and dividend reporting -- wages, income and dividend tax reporting

In addition, OpenExchange will support multiple PC platforms and other electronic devices as well as international financial transaction standards and a wide range of financial activities specific to countries outside the United States.

-- Secure. OpenExchange incorporates a comprehensive approach to provide end-to-end security for financial data exchange. OpenExchange will combine accepted industry protocols such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) v.3.0 with additional provisions for client and server authentication. And because its approach is modular, the security provisions in OpenExchange will be easy to update as technology advances. Among technology partners working with Intuit on the initial definition of OpenExchange are CheckFree, Netscape, CFI, Edify and, internationally, Siemens Nixdorf. "We support Intuit's efforts to develop a comprehensive framework for financial data exchange using the Internet," said Mike Homer, senior vice president of marketing for Netscape Communications Corp. "We look forward to working with Intuit, its other technology partners and financial services companies to further define and develop OpenExchange, which we believe will accelerate the adoption of the Internet as the preferred platform for financial connectivity."

OpenExchange Expands Choices for Financial Services Providers

OpenExchange offers Intuit's financial services provider customers more choice and flexibility in service and delivery methods. Working within the OpenExchange framework, financial services providers can develop their own solutions or search for the best interfaces, highest quality services and lowest prices among options provided by third parties. Choice extends to:

-- Back-end systems, including proprietary or Internet servers; -- Front-end software and interfaces, including PC software or Web-based servers; -- End-user devices and platforms, including Windows 95, Windows 3.1, Apple Macintosh and browser-based environments; -- Processors and service providers, including processing by internal operations or by processing subcontractors.

In addition, because OpenExchange supports a wider variety of financial industries and interactions than existing specifications, financial services providers will have more options in the products and services they can deliver to consumers and small businesses. For regular updates on OpenExchange leading up to its initial publication, visit Intuit's Web site


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