T&D World Magazine

CheckFree Completes Suite of Electronic Bill Payment Services with Acquisition of PhoneCharge

CheckFree Corporation has acquired PhoneCharge, Inc., a provider of telephone and Internet-based bill payment services, for about $100 million in a cash transaction that closed effective Jan. 1, 2006. The combination rounds out CheckFree's electronic bill payment solutions, giving billers the ability to provide a comprehensive suite of payment options to their customers from a single provider.

The acquisition of PhoneCharge will help CheckFree meet all of the electronic bill payment processing needs for billing organizations by supporting every channel, including online, walk-in, telephone, and lockbox through accounts receivable conversion processing. By working with a single, strategic electronic bill payment partner, billing organizations can further reduce costs and operational complexity that they face in managing multiple remittance vendors and settlement processes. CheckFree's focus is helping billers optimize their management of the "Revenue Collection Lifecycle."

Today, PhoneCharge offers proven phone payment services to an established base of companies, including national and regional telecommunications, cable television, utility and other billing organizations. The acquisition expands CheckFree's market position in offering convenience payments, which billers offer consumers in order to make last-minute or same-day bill payments to avoid late fees or service interruptions. These capabilities complement CheckFree's existing focus on faster payment processing across the channels it supports. CheckFree can also offer its billing customers the option of offering multiple payment instruments to their customers to fund their bill payments, including electronic checks, debit and credit cards.

The company expects the acquisition to be neutral to GAAP earnings per share for fiscal 2006 and accretive thereafter.

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