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No. of Recommendations: 1

Nicole from FirstIB:
"Several questions have been raised about the bill payment interface, so I thought I'd take a few moments to address as many points as possible in one message.

First, the interface... First IB had very little opportunity to customize the bill pay screens that you see. CheckFree offers what is called the "gray label" product to our service provider, Digital Insight, which is in turn offered to us. DI hosts our online banking site, but the bill payment is hosted and maintained by CheckFree. We were able to put in our service name (First IB Bill Payment) where appropriate as well as our telephone numbers. Otherwise, the product is cookie cutter. Some things about the interface (like why one account is designated as the billing account under the My Account tab despite the fact that First IB doesn't charge personal checking account customers for bill pay) don't make a lot of sense, and this is why.

Therefore, when you have comments or complaints about the bill pay interface, we do read them and we do pass them along, but we have very little ability to customize the product at this point.

Next, e-bills... Several people have questioned that pop-up message you sometimes get when trying to view an e-bill. It warns you that you're leaving the bill pay site, not to pay the bill on the screen but instead to return to the bill payment interface, etc.

CheckFree has relationships with some, but not all, of its billers. The rest of the e-bills are just screen scrapes (sort of). Aggregators like Yodlee scrape -- they take your login information and actually log in to the other service providers' sites in order to gather data and then repackage that data into one tidy little bundle. CheckFree doesn't really repackage the data at all; it merely facilitates the login process. So if you try to view your e-bill for a Discover Card and get the warning about leaving the site, all CheckFree is doing is going out to the Discover Card site and logging you in. If you pay the bill while you're on the Discover Card site, then Discover (not CheckFree) will actually initiate the payment. The biller will probably use ACH to pull funds from your checking account. If you pay the bill back in the bill pay interface, CheckFree is going to use ACH to pull funds from your checking account. The advantage to returning to the bill pay interface to pay the bill is that CheckFree will record the transaction, and you'll be able to see it in your bill pay history.

Based on what I have seen, most credit card e-bills are scraped rather than "delivered" (that's the term CheckFree uses to indicate there is a formal relationship with the biller). I could speculate as to why, but it would only be my opinion and not fact. You can probably draw your own conclusions.

That very long-winded explanation should address not only why you get the pop-up window, but also why you get e-bills when your balance is $0.

Finally, the "View and Pay Bills" link... Yes, there is an extra click required to get into bill payment. At this time, we are contemplating another service DI offers that would fall under this area. We haven't committed to moving forward with implementation. If we decide not to, we'll definitely push hard to get that link removed.

And with that, I'm all typed out for the moment. I'll check back in later, so feel free to reply if you have other questions you'd like us to address.

Take care, all."
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