March 26, 2001, 12:00 AM

Achex expands its merchant network

Electronic check provider Achex, with four merchants using its service, expects to bring three large merchants and 10,000 small into its network in a month.

Achex Inc., a provider of online check payments for web retailers, expects to bring three large merchants and 10,000 small merchants into its program within a month, Margaret Weichert, vice president of product development and marketing, tells Internet Retailer. Already BlueLight.com, Alight.com, YakPak.com and Gmoney.com accept the Achex product for check payment. Within the next month NetGrocer.com, WWF.com, and luxury site Ice.com will accept the product. Verza, a provider of shopping cart and check-out services for small web-based retailers, will bring 10,000 merchants into the program.

Consumers who want to pay by check sign up for the Achex service at check-out using a pop-up window that Achex sends to them. They provide personal and account information and choose a user name and password. Achex authorizes the transactions and takes the risk.

Weichert says 2% to 10% of customers at the four sites that accept checks now pay via Achex with the average being 5%. While she won’t reveal specifics, Weichert says merchants pay about half for Achex what they pay for credit card transactions. She says Achex does not anticipate consumer resistance to giving out check data because many consumers who choose that method of payment have no other choice. “They don’t have any other way to pay, but they are looking for the convenience and access to bargains on the web that others have,” she says.

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