CheckFree and Wassau offer ARC check conversion to billers


CheckFree ACH Solutions, a business unit of CheckFree Corporation (NASDAQ:CKFR), and Wausau Financial Systems (WFS), a leading provider of payment processing solutions, today announced that the companies have integrated CheckFree's accounts receivable conversion (ARC) software solution, PEP+ reACH, with WFS' ImageRPS remittance platform to provide ARC services to WFS' billing customers.

WFS has been building its leadership position for remittance processing solutions for more than 10 years. Over the past four years, WFS has seen customer interest in check conversion implementations rise dramatically. In order to meet this growing demand, WFS leveraged their experience as the first remittance solution vendor to implement an ARC solution. The WFS software platform processed the first live ARC transactions in the United States and has originated nearly 50 percent of all ARCs since its inception in March 2002.

"Wausau Financial Systems strives to anticipate the evolving payment processing needs of our customers, and ARC is a payment technology that is top of mind for our clients," stated Dave LeBeau, EVP of Marketing and Product Development with WFS. "With this initiative, many of our large billing customers have realized the benefits that ARC provides. The relationship with CheckFree is helping us move the market forward with a high-quality solution built on CheckFree's advanced decision logic, optimized processing models and full-service conversion management and exception handling. And through future reseller and referral efforts, the stage has been set for additional partner endeavors -- providing customers with a true total clearing solution."

CheckFree leverages more than 20 years of electronic bill payment experience with its PEP+ reACH ARC solution. At the core of this solution is CheckFree's Financial Institution File (FIF) for ARC eligibility and conversion processes. For more than two decades, consumers have sent voided checks to CheckFree as source information for generating payments primarily to billers where the ACH was the preferred method for remittance clearing. The ARC process flow parallels the same general process as electronic bill payment. As a result of the CheckFree Financial Institution File, billers can operate at the highest levels of efficiencies for ARC conversion by maximizing the total number of eligible items conve items converted and minimizing the number of returns due to administrative reasons.

"Wausau Financial Systems represents the type of industry leader that will enable CheckFree to drive the continued adoption of ARC services for billing organizations," said Denny Oswalt, Senior Vice President and General Manager of CheckFree's ACH Solutions Group. "With WFS' leadership in remittance processing, we see a unique opportunity to provide an even greater value to those billers who are already using ARC or are planning to implement a solution. This value is derived from the high precision and quality that our transaction intelligence database delivers, along with advanced collection schedules through our hosted ARC processing model."

With the development already completed, both companies report that billers are already in the implementation phase with the joint solution. This integration of solutions will expedite the installation for billers, allowing them to reap the benefits sooner. This speed-to-market is important in light of recent changes in payment strategies, since ARC provides a proven solution that can jump start a company's check electronification strategy today.

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