Maitland, FL (February 20, 2001) - The STARsm network (STAR) announced today that it is processing utility bill payments made over the Internet as part of a full-scale pilot test launched with BillMatrix Corporation on February 1, 2001. The new payment option extends to the Internet the convenience of using an ATM/debit card to pay utility bills. Arizona Public Service is the first utility providing this convenience to its customers through this pilot, which is expected to be expanded to customers of other utilities in the West later this year. "American consumers used their ATM/debit cards for more than 3.6 billion PIN-secured payment transactions last year, at grocery stores, gas stations, and other retail locations," said Ronald V. Congemi, president of STAR. "This pilot test is an important step toward expanding consumers' options for making secure debit payments on the Internet." Customers of utility companies participating in the pilot test can pay their bills on the Internet using an ATM/debit card with a STAR logo. From a participating utility company's Web site, a customer chooses the online bill payment function, and selects the STAR debit option to make a payment. The transaction is then routed by BillMatrix to STAR. In turn, STAR switches the transaction, settling the funds overnight between the customer's financial institution and the utility company. The debit appears on the customer's next checking account statement, like a real-time ATM/debit card transaction. The STAR pilot test is an extension of the telephone payment services offered by utilities and processed by STAR for the past three years. In 2000, STAR processed nearly 400,000 telephone utility bill payments via third parties including BillMatrix, which represents a 112 percent increase over 1999. "BillMatrix and STAR have enjoyed a successful relationship for the past three years. We are excited to be working with STAR in extending the convenience and success of telephone payments to the Internet," said Scott Walker, president and CEO of BillMatrix. "Utility customers now have another attractive way to pay their bills and, if past transaction volume is any indication, we expect thousands to take advantage of this innovative option." The pilot test with BillMatrix is part of STAR's comprehensive program to develop and test a variety of systems for making secure payments on the Internet. Pilot tests for additional Internet payment options are currently underway at STAR.
The leading PIN-secured debit network in the United States, STAR is a part of the Network Services division of Concord EFS, Inc. that collectively processes over 5.3 billion transactions a year via nearly 6,500 participating financial institutions and more than 900,000 participating ATMs and retail locations, such as grocery stores, gas stations, and discount stores. Visit www.star-system.com
for more information.
BillMatrix Corp. provides consumers bill payment and presentment via the Internet and telephone using a variety of credit card, debit card, and electronic check payment options. Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, BillMatrix includes some of the United States' largest cellular, utility, and insurance companies as customers. For more information, visit www.billmatrix.com
This release may contain or incorporate by reference statements which may constitute "forward-looking" information, within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934, as amended. Any such statements are not guarantees for future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. Concord undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events, or changes to future results over time. See the cautionary statements included as Exhibit 99 to Concord's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 1999, for a more detailed discussion of certain of the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements.