Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S), the largest proprietary credit card issuer in the U.S., and CheckFree (NASDAQ: CKFR), the leading provider of electronic billing and payment (EBP) software and services, announced today that Sears' approximately 60 million credit card customers will be able to view and pay their Sears bills online through their choice of nearly 200 CheckFree-powered Web sites. The agreement between Sears and CheckFree represents the largest business relationship to date between a retailer and an electronic billing and payment provider.
Sears credit card customers can access bills online, view bill details and approve their bill payment in a matter of moments using CheckFree's fully integrated electronic billing and payment solution. The approved payment is then made on the date selected by the consumer from the customer's designated account.
Payments made electronically on Sears credit accounts will be processed by CheckFree Genesis 2000, the industry's only fully integrated end-to-end electronic billing and payment engine. Customers who pay bills through this service are protected from unauthorized transactions and processing delays by the CheckFree Guarantee.
"With the rapidly expanding capability of Sears online business and our relationship with CheckFree, we will deliver world-class service to our customers where, when and how they choose," said Kevin Keleghan, Sears Credit Services president. "Online bill presentment and payment is only one of the customer-responsive new Web initiatives that Sears Credit plans to introduce in the near future."
"Electronic billing and payment services enable a customer-focused organization such as Sears to extend its tradition of customer service to the Internet in a safe, secure and reliable environment," said Tom Stampiglia, president of CheckFree Software Division. Through the CheckFree Guarantee, Sears can also extend its pledge to offer customers, 'The good life at a great price. Guaranteed' to online bill payment."
Sears is joining a growing number of U.S. companies that offer not only electronic bill payment but also presentment, or online viewing of the statement and detail, to those who subscribe to the service. Customers of the company's Sears Card, Sears Premier Card and Sears Charge PLUS accounts may utilize the new service by enrolling to pay bills online with Web sites that offer CheckFree EBP services including banks, brokerages, credit unions, Internet portals and personal financial management software. These sites include Summit Bank, Citizens Bank, First Union, NetBank, Wingspanbank.com, Charles Schwab, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Prudential Securities, Navy Federal Credit Union, the U.S. Postal Service, Yahoo!, Quicken.com and Quicken Personal Financial Management Software. A complete list of distribution partners offering CheckFree electronic billing and payment is available at http://www.checkfree.com/freedom .
CheckFree ( http://www.checkfree.com/ ) is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services and products. Founded as an electronic payments processor in 1981, CheckFree launched the first fully integrated EBP solution in early 1997. CheckFree services enable 3.5 million consumers to receive and pay bills over the Internet or electronically. The company has multi-year contracts with nearly 190 of the nation's top billers to provide online billing and payment through its network of partnerships with nearly 200 consumer service providers (CSPs), including banks, brokerage firms, Internet portals and content sites, and personal financial management (PFM) software.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenue of nearly $40 billion. The company serves families throughout the country through approximately 860 department stores, more than 2,100 specialized retail locations, and a variety of online offerings accessible through the company's Web site, http://www.sears.com/ .
SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Contact: Judy Antonicic of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 847-286-7255, e-mail,