America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), the world's leading interactive service, and Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU), the leader in electronic finance, today announced plans to offer a truly comprehensive online service for managing household bills. Powered by View and Pay Bills by Quicken®, the companies will begin rollout across multiple AOL brands in early 2000.
Under the five-year agreement, Intuit will be the exclusive integrated provider of this bill tracking and payment service to AOL and AOL.COM. The new service will give consumers the ability to view, track, and pay all of their bills, whether they are issued electronically or in "hard copy" paper bills.
This two-track approach distinguishes this AOL/Intuit service from existing services, which allow payment either of only electronic bills or only scanned paper bills, or require consumers to enter payment amounts themselves. With this new service, consumers can view their bills and easily provide the necessary information to have funds transferred from their existing bank account, and then hit a button to have payments made.
Recent research has indicated a strong consumer demand for this feature. According to the just-released 1999 AOL/Roper Starch Cyberstudy, more than half (55%) of online consumers would be interested in paying bills online. Jupiter Research forecasts that the number of households will grow to 18 million by 2003, ten times as many as use such services today. This agreement will make AOL's Personal Finance Channel, already the #1 financial site in cyberspace, even more valuable to consumers as it adds everyday household money management to the already robust financial planning and investment services that the channel provides.
Under the agreement, AOL and Intuit will provide utilities, credit card companies, and other billers with a way to present bills to their customers, complete with their brand and logo identity, at whatever level of detail they desire, using state-of-the-art encryption technology. Consumers can also direct billers who do not provide electronic billing to send paper bills to an Intuit address where they will be scanned into electronic format. A monthly fee, to be determined, will be charged for use of this feature.
Bob Pittman, AOL's President and Chief Operating Officer, said: "This is another great step toward helping our members personalize the AOL service to meet their individual needs. Everyone has to pay bills, and this new offering will simplify the process by allowing members to receive and pay their bills from one location, and view their billing history to track expenses. With its extensive experience in electronic finance and strong customer focus, Intuit is a great ally for us in this new service."
Bill Campbell, Chairman and Acting CEO of Intuit, said: "As the leader in electronic finance, Intuit is committed to harnessing the power of the Internet to revolutionize people's financial lives. Our electronic bill tracking and payment technology helps to take the hassle out of personal finance. Teaming with America Online gives us the chance to bring this opportunity to tens of millions of their members and visitors to their portal site, in addition to Quicken.com, where Intuit's electronic bill presentment and payment service debuted last week." Intuit is offering bill presentment and payment services pursuant to a license agreement between Intuit Inc. and a joint venture company in which Intuit is a participant.
This new service builds on the broad strategic content and commerce alliance between AOL and Intuit. Intuit has been the primary source of original programming for the Personal Finance Web Channel on AOL.COM since 1998. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.