July 3, 2002, 12:00 AM

E-checks may be coming to Amazon.com

Amazon.com Inc. has been shopping for a provider of electronic check services to offer e-check payment as an alternative to credit cards, e-check services providers tell InternetRetailer.com.

Amazon.com Inc. has been shopping for a provider of electronic check services to offer e-check payment as an alternative to credit cards, e-check services providers tell InternetRetailer.com. Amazon will not comment on its plans. Sources say they expect Amazon will accept e-checks in time for holiday shopping this year.

When paying via e-check, consumers provide their bank routing and checking account numbers. The payment processor generally submits payment through the automated clearinghouse. Depending on the service, funds are guaranteed just as they are with credit cards. For a lower fee, retailers can opt for non-guaranteed funds.

E-check providers look forward to Amazon accepting e-checks because Amazon has been an innovator in online retailing, often forging a path that other e-retailers follow. The electronic check market has been slow to develop. BizRate.com Inc., which monitors transactions at 2,000 online retailing sites, says only about 0.3% of transactions are paid by check and only a third of those are electronic checks. The balance are checks mailed post-order.

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