USPS launches online bill payment service

USPS launches online bill payment service

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

The Postal Service this month launched an online bill payment service that drew criticism from an industry association.


Output Technology Solution's Randy Lintecum, left, and CheckFree's Pete Kight help USPS' William Henderson demonstrate the new eBillPay service.


At the unveiling of the USPS eBillPay service, postal officials said the effort is a natural progression for the agency.

'It is certain that the generation that has grown up with PCs will move to transacting business on the Internet,' Postmaster General William Henderson said at the event held at Postal Service headquarters.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association called the online service the latest effort by USPS to compete with industry.

'The Postal Service's plan would fundamentally change the role of government in the private sector,' said Ed Black, the Washington association's president and chief executive officer. 'We are greatly dismayed that the Postal Service has decided to escalate its campaign to expand its services far beyond its historical mission to deliver the mail.'

Mark Saunders, a Postal Service spokesman, said: 'USPS eBillPay is a move on our part to respond to customer needs and keep up with technology. There is room in this marketplace for everyone.'

Pay this way

The online service, at www.usps.com/ebpp/splash.html, offers an alternative way to deliver payments, $17 billion of which are mailed annually, postal officials said.

'Our people and our organization will ensure secure, reliable service via the Internet,' Henderson said. 'Working with technology and financial electronic-commerce leaders from the private sector is the best way to leverage the Internet and the best way to explore opportunities for efficiency, cost and time savings for our customers.'

The Postal Service worked with CheckFree Corp. of Norcross, Ga., and YourAccounts.com of El Dorado Hills, Calif., to develop eBillPay.

CheckFree will provide the electronic-payment functions. The e.bill.anywhere program from YourAccounts.com'the e-commerce division of Output Technology Solutions Inc., a subsidiary of DST Systems Inc. of Kansas City, Mo.'will support the content delivery, Postal Service officials said.

Customers can enroll for the service online and set up lists of vendors they want to pay electronically. The service will let users view their bills and select payment dates.

USPS will provide the service for free for six months. After that, users will have two options. For $6 a month, USPS will handle up to 20 bills a month; extra payments would cost 40 cents each. Or users can pay a $2-a-month account charge and 40 cents per bill.

Black said the program puts USPS in direct competition with business. He said that's prohibited by Office of Budget and Management Circular A-76, which says that 'in the process of governing, the government should not compete with its citizens.'

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