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Pitney Bowes Joins the E-Commerce Parade

Pitney Bowes launches a number of services to support B2B and EBPP initiatives.

Pitney Bowes, long known for its postage metering equipment, isn't about to sit out the rush towards electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) services for businesses.

In fact, the Stamford, Conn.-based company entered the EBPP market in 1998 and has opened its own bank in Salt Lake City, Utah to support its e-commerce initiatives: an EBPP service from its DocSense division, and PitneyPay, an Internet payment solution. PB Bank primarily submits ACH transactions on behalf of billers using those services.

It's been a logical progression for the company. "We put DocSense in front of Pitney Bowes' major billing customers," said Mike Ryan, vice president of PitneyPay. "By doing that it gave us a perfect inroad into where the bills were being sent from."

The DocSense EBPP solution notifies customers, via e-mail, when selected bills are available online. But from a funds transfer perspective, that was only part of the whole solution. "DocSense had to use outside financial services firms to move funds from the payee to the payor," said Ryan.

That's where PitneyPay comes in, allowing customers to avoid having to use a third party service (or their own bank's site) to move funds. PB Bank, after it collects the funds through PitneyPay, uses ACH to send them to the biller's bank.

Small and medium-sized businesses can best benefit from the PitneyPay service. "The big companies can really afford to customize their bill payment and presentment," said Ryan. "This allows us to move downscale."

Pitney Bowes' move to EBPP draws on existing capabilities. "A company like Pitney Bowes has a huge treasury operation, and has huge relationships with banks that move money for all of our leasing agreements and sales agreements, and all the postage that we touch," said Ryan. "We were able to transfer that expertise to medium-sized businesses who would like to have an electronic payment option."

PitneyPay has high hopes for the EBPP market. "Just as Checkfree has become a consolidator in the consumer space, we have the opportunity to be a consolidator in the business space," said Ryan.

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