Citibank joins Microsoft's e-commerce team

Microsoft Corp. announced Monday that Citibank will take a "significant" minority interest in its e-commerce joint venture with First Data Corp.

Microsoft Corp. announced Monday that Citibank will take a "significant" minority interest in its e-commerce joint venture with First Data Corp.

The joint venture, MSFDC, has also the changed its name to TransPoint to better reflect the service it provides for consumers, billers and financial institutions.

"We are very excited to have Citibank join TransPoint," said Hank DeNero, executive vice president of First Data Corp. "The relationship reflects our commitment to providing consumers, billers and financial institutions with a great service and demonstrates Citibank's strong support of TransPoint's approach to Internet bill delivery and payment."

Citibank will acquire a significant minority interest in the venture, with Microsoft and First Data retaining a majority stake in equal proportions. Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) is a partner in MSNBC.

Citibank also will be represented on the TransPoint board of directors.

Power of the Net
"We are strong believers in the power of the Internet and its ability to reach our customers, and we've created a suite of product solutions designed specifically for this channel and other electronic mediums," said Ed Horowitz, corporate executive vice president at Citibank. "MSFDC also shares this belief in electronic billing on the Internet - a key component of Citibank's product strategy - and has built innovative technology to accelerate its launch into this market space."

As part of the agreement, Citibank will provide TransPoint with access to the "pay anyone" capability that Citibank developed as part of its Direct Access PC Banking. Other retail financial institutions will be able to use "pay anyone" as part of TransPoint's integrated service. This will enable consumers to pay any bill or make any payment regardless of whether the participating biller delivers the bill electronically. Citibank will also implement TransPoint's service, enabling Citibank's businesses and customers to present and pay bills electronically.

TransPoint's Internet billing technology will be included in Citibank's e-Citi commerce solutions, a broader suite of electronic products and services that Citibank is developing to meet customer needs in the evolving global electronic economy. These solutions are designed to support the new electronic way of doing business. They offer content, access and choices as Citibank continues to create a distinctive, global, customer-driven, multipurpose electronic experience.

"This relationship is a natural fit and really strengthens our service offering," said Lewis Levin, vice president of desktop finance at Microsoft. "Citibank's leadership in e-commerce innovation, combined with TransPoint's expertise in Internet bill delivery and payment technology, will accelerate the adoption of the service by billers, banks and consumers. The investment by Citibank also ensures TransPoint's close alignment with the financial services industry. With Citibank's research and expertise in e-commerce, the expanded venture will be better able to identify and pursue additional e-commerce opportunities as Internet bill delivery and payment grows."


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