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Vivian Wagner
Vivian Wagner
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Canadian Banks Kick Off Online Bill Pay Service

Canadian companies wishing to offer electronic bill and document presentation to their customers while maintaining and promoting their brand now have a solution-webdoxs.

webdoxs is the flagship service of e-route, a joint venture of six Canadian banks-Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank and TD Bank Financial Group. e-route was formed in 1998 to deliver electronic bill presentment services to Canadian retail customers. Two other banks, Laurentian Bank and Credit Union Central, also subscribe to webdoxs.

Launched last November, webdoxs allows customers to view and pay bills plus access past statements and other documents through their bank's Web site.

Customer feedback has been "tremendously positive," said David Koa, vice president of marketing and sales at Toronto-based e-route. "What's really powerful is that it's the company's own brand that is displayed."

e-route provides the webdoxs service to banks, which in turn offer it to their corporate and retail customers. Each institution is responsible for customer service; most have integrated customer service into their existing call centers.

Thirteen billers are using the webdoxs service, including the banks themselves (for credit card billing), several municipalities (to collect property taxes), Cambrian College (which will be allowing students to pay tuition and transcript fees online), utility companies and the cable operator Videotron. e-route is negotiating with Bell Canada, the nation's largest telephone company, as well as its wireless subsidiary, Bell Mobility.

When a biller signs up for the service through one bank, it gains access to the customer bases of the other e-route banks, which serve 90% of Canada's banking customers, about three million of whom bank online.

When signing on to webdoxs, billers can choose either "thick" or "thin" presentment. With the "thick" service, the billing and other information is uploaded and stored at e-route's central facility in Toronto. With the "thin" service, webdoxs provides seamless integration between the online banking site and the biller's own database.

To keep up with the needs of banking customers, e-route hopes eventually to make webdoxs available through other electronic means, such as wireless and PDA devices.

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