October 24, 2002, 12:00 AM

PayByCheck.com expects surge in holiday business

PayByCheck.com says it expects a strong increase in the use of online check services this holiday season, as consumers avoid high credit card balances and merchants seek lower transaction fees.


ITI Internet Services Inc.’s PayByCheck.com expects a big increase in the amount of online check payments it processes during the holiday shopping season for customers of Internet retailers, CEO Ron Ehli tells InternetRetailer.com. He attributes the growing interest in online check payments to a decreasing fraud rate as well as consumers’ desire to shop for the holidays despite having maxed-out credit card balances.


Ehli says the rate of consumer-driven fraud on the use of online checks has dropped sharply in recent years, to about 0.3% from as high as 4% a few years ago.


At the same time, "We see a lot of merchants adding Internet check options," he says. Until recently, he adds, online check options were more common among boutique e-retailers who had difficulty getting approved to accept credit cards. But now he says larger retailers, who benefit from lower transaction fees for large-ticket items, are interested in e-checks.


PayByCheck charges a flat fee of $1.30 per transaction, compared to a rate of about 2.5%-4.5% charged by credit card companies. Ehli says his average transaction during the holidays last year was $286–-an amount that would result in a card transaction fee of $7-$12.


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