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New Zealand Post Starts Electronic Billing Pilot

New Zealand Post has started an internal pilot of its planned electronic billing service.

New Zealand Post Chief Executive Elmar Toime said the pilot will test the new service, which allows customers to pay their bills over the Internet.

"The planned service will allow banks and billers to offer electronic bill delivery and payment services without the need to develop their own system and infrastructure, making it easier and more cost effective to offer the service to their customers."

Also involved in the pilot are Bank of New Zealand, which will provide the payment mechanism for the trial, and 'billers' Saturn Communications and Bank of New Zealand Credit Cards.

"During the pilot, customers will have their Saturn and Bank of New Zealand credit card bills delivered to them electronically," said Mr Toime. "Customers will be able to access these bills at one secure website and will be able to make payments directly from their Bank of New Zealand bank account. They'll also be able to choose when and how much to pay for each bill."

Bank of New Zealand Managing Director Mike Pratt said the bank is delighted to be part of the project.

"We are pleased to be among the leaders in this field. Electronic billing will complement our own Internet banking project and the two services combined will offer customers a really convenient and fast way to manage bills and money."

"Saturn's customers expect great service, convenience and technology, which is why Saturn is excited to be involved in the trial of a new service that promises to deliver all of this," said Saturn Chief Financial Officer Vicki Potts.

Mr Toime said the service compliments the bill production, delivery and payment services that New Zealand Post already provides.

"New Zealand Post has extensive experience in the production and delivery of bills and payment services. We produce over 80 million bills each year through our subsidiary, Datamail, and handle 13 million payments annually through our network of Post Shops and agencies.

"We see this new service as a natural extension of the range of bill payment and delivery services we offer our customers."

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Mr Toime said that because the service will eventually include most banks and most common household bills, customers will be able to access almost all of their bills at one secure Internet site.

"The service is designed to simplify the bill payment process for customers, saving them time and making it easier for them to manage their finances."

Mr Toime said that initial research on the service indicated that there was real interest and demand for the service, even from customers who were not currently connected to the Internet.

"Of the people involved in the research, some 33 per cent of people with access to a PC and 31 per cent of people without access to a PC, indicated that they would strongly consider using the service."

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