January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

BofA-CheckFree Deal A Plus For E-Commerce

Bank of America has bought a 16% share of bill-payment provider CheckFree Holdings Corp. Under the 10-year contract, subject to approval, CheckFree will obtain BofA's electronic billing and payment assets. The companies also are launching a next-generation payments platform designed for financial institutions to extend payment services on the Web and to enable them to offer "pay anyone" capability.

The services, some which will launch this year, will enable consumers to use their online banking interface anywhere they use money on the Web, including for online shopping purchases, auctions and money transfers. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank has more than 700,000 consumers enrolled in online payment services. Atlanta-based CheckFree has 3.3 million subscribers. BofA customers will be able to access electronic billing and payment services by linking to CheckFree through BofA's Web site.

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