Acquisitions Help Spur EBPP

Electronic billing providers expect new companies will boost transaction services and applications.

Electronic bill presentment and payment is heating up.

Want proof?

eTime Capital Inc., InteliData Technologies Corp. and Avolent Inc. are acquiring companies to jump-start their respective EBPP offerings, while iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions and MetraTech Corp. have announced EBPP additions to their applications.

EBPP lets companies send bills over the Internet to business and consumer customers and allows those customers to pay online.

eTime Capital, which provides transaction reconciliation and settlement services, will announce this week its acquisition of Dynamic Transactions Inc. The purchase of DTI, best known for its PayPlace service, which settles payments between online buyers and sellers, will propel eTime Capital into the EBPP space and shave months off product development time, according to officials of the Sunnyvale, Calif., company.

Also buying their way deeper into EBPP are InteliData and Avolent. The former announced earlier this month that it is acquiring Home Account Holdings Inc., of Emeryville, Calif., its Home Account Network Inc. subsidiary, and its suite of Unix-based Internet banking and EBPP products.

InteliData, of Reston, Va., already offers remote banking services to financial institutions. The deal gives the company a broader customer base—including credit card issuers—and a fast handle on Home Accounts current client roster, including some of the countrys top financial institutions, such as Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and First United Corp.

For its part, San Francisco-based Avolent last week said it had completed the acquisition of Solant Inc., which has expertise in business-to-business electronic bill payment, reporting and analysis.

Separately, iPlanet, of Santa Clara, Calif., last week announced two partnerships that will enhance its electronic billing capabilities. iPlanet has an EBPP offering with its iPlanet BillerXpert. The company said it will work on new products that make BillerXpert compatible with EBPP products from Oasis Technologies Inc. and analysis products from SAS Institute Inc. None of the companies said when such products would be available.

Finally, MetraTech, of Waltham, Mass., a Web services billing provider, last week rolled out an XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based billing platform that will not only broaden its current electronic billing capabilities but will also speed its customers time to market with EBPP offerings.

The MetraTech platform allows its customers—such as startup voice communication services provider eYak Inc.—to electronically manage aspects of the billing process such as metering, rating, taxing, presentation and payment, according to company officials.

Boston-based eYak is implementing MetraTechs billing platform to provide real-time EBPP services to its client base of telecom, distance-learning and Internet companies.

Bill Pucci, vice president of operations and services for eYak, praised the agility of the MetraTech platform.

"They provide flexibility in their software and can respond to change very quickly," Pucci said. "MetraTechs use of adapters allows us to get new products to market in very short order."