NZ Post to export e-bill

New Zealand Post has plans to sell its electronic billing service overseas - even before its pilot is completed. Business development manager Mary Beth Rousseau says if NZ Post wins postal restructuring business in South Africa - for which it is in line - the e-bill service will be proposed as part of a package.

New Zealand Post has plans to sell its electronic billing service overseas - even before its pilot is completed.

Business development manager Mary Beth Rousseau says if NZ Post wins postal restructuring business in South Africa - for which it is in line - the e-bill service will be proposed as part of a package.

And where NZ Post goes so will its business partner in the venture, US company CheckFree, for whom New Zealand is the first non-US site it has become involved with.

CheckFree has customised its software, in conjunction with NZ Post, for New Zealand conditions.

The Bank of New Zealand, which is providing the payment mechanism, and "billers" Saturn Communications and BNZ Credit Cards are involved in the trial, which includes 200 staff from the participating organisations. It will conclude in September.

NZ Post chief executive Elmar Toime says because the service will eventually include most banks and most common household bills, customers will be able to access almost all of their bills at one secure Internet site.

The system allows participating companies to deliver bills electronically via the Internet in a secure form, using 128-bit encryption.

The user pays the bill electronically through nominated accounts from his bank, if it participates. Rousseau says NZ Post is in discussions with banks other than the BNZ.

NZ Post will be paid by the billers on a per transaction basis but is also considering an annual charge for users.

Billers are expected to make savings by eliminating cheque handling.

The software runs on NT servers, using Oracle8 as the database.

The Web server has a global server ID - a certificate issued by Verisign in the US that allows full 128-bit encryption of all traffic between the browser and the server.

Toime says the service complements the bill production, delivery and payment services which Post already provides.

"NZ Post has extensive experience in the production and delivery of bills and payment services," he says. "We produce over 80 million bills each year through our subsidiary Datamail and handle 13 million payments annually through our network of Post Shops and agencies.

Of the people involved in research, some 33% with access to a PC and 31% without access to a PC indicated they would strongly consider using the service."

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