Citibank has entered alliances with Microsoft and AuctionWatch as part of a major initiative to boost uptake of its c2it person-to-person payment service for e-mailing funds over the Internet.
Under the agreement with Microsoft, Citi's c2it P2P system will be featured as the preferred and only MSN branded payments services for transferring funds online. MSN customers will be able to enroll in and access the payment process using a variety of sources (credit cards, debit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts) from any financial institution. c2it is available now at MSN MoneyCentral and will be integrated throughout MSN, including MSN Auctions, MSN eShop, and the MSN Hotmail Web-based email service in the coming months.
"This alliance provides consumers with the easiest way to move money online," says Erik Jorgensen, general manager of the consumer financial products group at Microsoft. "By teaming up with the leader in online payment services, we're able to offer an essential financial management tool to MSN's 230 million monthly visitors."
In a seperate agreement, AuctionWatch is to embed the Citibank service within its suite of software and service for businesses buying and selling online.
The integrated service will enable AuctionWatch buyers and sellers to automatically exchange invoices, payment data and shipping information when dealing online. c2it functionality on AuctionWatch's site will begin in June with full integration completed by Fall 2001.
In addition to offering payment solutions for online auctions, c2it will also be the featured payment provider within AuctionWatch's merchant storefronts, a place where sellers offer merchandise to buyers at a fixed price.
"Teaming up with a leading online auction services company was a natural choice for us," says Antony Jenkins, COO of c2it. "Bringing c2it to AuctionWatch's customers aligns with our strategy of making c2it widely available across the Web."
He says Citi will be adding a facility for US residents to transfer funds to recipients in 30 countries by mid-May. Citi is also planning to launch an account-based card with an extended line of credit scheduled for the third quarter. Expanded international use of the service is also planned for the end of 2001.
Recently, Citigroup announced a revised pricing model, charging senders a low fee of $0.50 (fifty cents) or up to a maximum of 2.2% of the amount of the transaction. Sellers pay no fees.