Got Net?

E-Billing

Just as home delivery is winning converts among the time-challenged, so are Web-based services that allow you to receive and pay your bills online. E-billing services make it possible for bills to be created, delivered and paid over the Net. IDC predicts worldwide sales for these services will jump from $32 million in 1999 to $1 billion by 2004.

CyberBills, which offers services enabling consumers to essentially click their bills paid, has developed a hybrid business model consisting of its branded consumer site-StatusFactory.com-and a set of business-to-business services it offers to portals, banks, brokerage houses and other companies that want to brand their own e-billing services. Co-founder and CEO John Simpson, 34, has found these services to have more sales potential than just the consumer portal alone, because most consumers are more comfortable handling financial matters through recognized institutions. Companies reselling CyberBills' services include Intuit and AOL.

Simpson says e-bill payment services may be hard to break into at this stage of the game, as many of the early movers have tied up relationships with the larger institutions. He suggests start-ups may do better as resellers of existing bill payment services they can offer to their online customers, primarily as a way to keep customers coming back to their sites.

"This market is still in its infancy," says IDC's e-commerce manager Albert Pang, "but it has the potential to blossom into a staggering opportunity."

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This article was originally published in the September 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Got Net?.

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