CheckFree and Sovereign Bank launch 'go paperless' campaign

Source: CheckFree Corporation

CheckFree Corporation (Nasdaq: CKFR) and Sovereign Bank (NYSE: SOV) today affirmed their commitment to the environment by launching the "Go Paperless" campaign.

As part of the Go Paperless campaign, developed to educate consumers about the green-friendly benefits of paperless bills, Sovereign Bank and CheckFree will donate $1 to The National Arbor Day Foundation for each new electronic bill (e-bill) that customers activate at Sovereign Bank from April 1 through May 31, 2007. Each donation will help cover the cost of planting one new tree.

"People today are much more environmentally aware than ever, and are looking for ways - no matter how big or small - to do their part, from recycling to buying a hybrid car. Sovereign, together with our technology partner CheckFree, hopes that consumers will take the 'Go Paperless' challenge and start paying and receiving bills online as a way of doing their part to improve the environment," said Marshall Soura, managing director of Global Solutions Group, Sovereign Bank.

Consumers can sign up with participating billers to receive e-bills - which contain the same information as the typical paper version, delivered to them online rather than in the mail or at any of nearly 800 Sovereign Community Banking Offices in the Northeast. Receiving and paying bills online helps reduce the environmental impact of bill paying by eliminating the need for paper bills, envelopes and stamps. According to the United States Postal Service, more than 10 million tons of paper travel through the mail each year. By receiving and paying bills electronically, Americans can take one more step in preserving our natural resources.

"If every American household viewed and paid its bills online, it would reduce solid waste in U.S. landfills by more than 800,000 tons a year, and help curb the release of greenhouse gases by 2.1 million tons," said James Van Dyke, president and founder of Javelin Strategy & Research, an independent research firm.

The Go Paperless campaign donations will go to The National Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees across the nation. Trees play a vital role in improving both urban and rural environments, while reducing energy consumption. A single tree in one day can provide oxygen for up to four people and discharge up to 100 gallons of water from the ground into the air, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In one year, a tree can absorb 16.87 pounds of carbon dioxide. Trees planted near buildings can also help lower utility costs and improve energy efficiency.

"It takes 24 trees to produce one ton of virgin printing and office paper," said Kevin Sander, director of corporate partnerships at The National Arbor Day Foundation. "Obviously, businesses and consumers won't ever stop needing paper, but technology is helping make an impact to reduce unnecessary paper usage and waste. Electronic bill payment is a key element in that quest, and we commend CheckFree and Sovereign Bank for their commitment to helping conserve our natural resources."

The 2007 Consumer Bill Payment Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive and the Marketing Workshop, Inc., and sponsored by CheckFree, revealed that:
  • Fifty-two percent of e-bill users agreed that "receiving bills in electronic form saves paper and energy, helping our nation's environment" is one of the reasons they chose to receive e-bills.
  • Paperless billing is on the rise as consumers become more aware of the environmental benefits of e-billing. Thirty-nine percent of consumers receiving e-bills at bank websites said they no longer receive a mailed copy of that bill.

Are e-Bills the Same as Regular Paper Bills?
  • Improved Organization and Convenience -Consumers no longer have to worry about a stack of paper bills sitting on the kitchen table. Using a financial institution site, consumers can view all their bills and schedule payments on the date of their choosing from a single screen - while saving time and money.
  • Better Financial Control-Consumers receive electronic bills at the same online banking site where they already schedule bill payments, making it easier to monitor and manage account balances. In addition, consumers can choose an advanced feature that enables them to receive alerts to review and authorize automatic payments whenever the bill amount varies from a set figure.
  • Security From Fraud- More identity fraud takes place through traditional offline channels, such as unsecured mailboxes, than through the Internet. By using e-bills and taking other precautions, consumers can actually minimize the risk of identity fraud.

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