COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Checkfree Corporation, the nation's leading provider of electronic payment services, announced today that it has developed a secure, inexpensive and easy-to-use Internet transaction product called The CheckFree Wallet(TM). Available to users of the World Wide Web, the fastest-growing segment of the Internet, The CheckFree Wallet enables consumers to purchase goods and services from on-line merchants in a safe, convenient and familiar manner. Initially, purchases may be paid for by major credit card. Eventually, The CheckFree Wallet will accommodate electronic checks as well. Unlike current Internet payment schemes, The CheckFree Wallet does not require prior registration with merchants. Nor does it mandate pre-conversion of funds to proprietary (and potentially illiquid) `electronic cash.` And on-line shoppers pay no fees or transaction service charges with the safe, convenient product. `The CheckFree Wallet is as easy to use as an ATM,` says Pete Kight, founder and CEO of Checkfree. `It provides a unique and much needed service to consumers and merchants alike. And best of all, The CheckFree Wallet does not require anyone to alter the way they now do business.` Shopping on the Web Just as they do in an actual mall, on-line consumers can browse the thousands of electronic storefronts now established on the World Wide Web. After viewing merchandise and making selections, consumers pay for purchases as they leave each store. Most merchants accept all major credit cards. Electronic checks, which will be added to The CheckFree Wallet in coming months, will enable shoppers to pay for purchases with funds from their checking account at any U.S. financial institution. The CheckFree Wallet system takes the place of a clerk at an actual mall and/or an operator at a telemerchant. Instead of handing a plastic card to a clerk or reading an account number and expiration date over the phone to an operator, the on-line shopper enters an alphanumeric password to open an on screen wallet and select an available payment option. After reviewing order information, such as size, color, quantity and cost of goods, the on-line shopper clicks a `pay` button to complete the transaction. At the point of purchase, the customer's order is transmitted to the merchant for fulfillment. Because their shipping address and other information are already encrypted and stored in The CheckFree Wallet, shoppers do not have to fill out lengthy order forms every time they make a purchase or visit an electronic storefront. Payment instructions are transmitted to Checkfree for decryption, authorization and processing. Once a payment is authorized, funds are debited from the customer's credit card (or, soon, checking) account and credited to the merchant's account -- the very same steps that occur in a face-to-face or telephone transaction. `The beauty of this system is that neither the merchant nor the shopper is forced to learn new payment methods,` says Kight. `The CheckFree Wallet enables retailers and their customers to use their familiar payment instruments, checks and credit cards, with complete security and absolute convenience in the new and exciting on-line marketplace.` Cooperatively Developed The CheckFree Wallet was developed cooperatively by Checkfree; Spyglass Inc., licenser of Enhanced Mosaic(TM), a leading Web browser; Tandem Computers; and Virtual Open Network Environment Corp. (V-ONE), a leader in Internet security systems. The CheckFree Wallet is now being integrated into the Spyglass Enhanced Mosaic(TM) browser version 2.1, which will be available this summer. Merchant servers must be Checkfree-enabled to accept payments. Server enabling software will be readily available this summer. Open System The World Wide Web Consortium is currently reviewing a standard for transaction protocols. The CheckFree Wallet integrates easily into HTML browser packages, HTTP-D server systems, and existing retail order and fulfillment systems. Checkfree's mission is to create an open, affordable system for Internet transactions. To that end, The CheckFree Wallet accommodates all existing standards, and will also incorporate all emerging standards adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as they become finalized. Application Program Interface (API) information and technical specifications for The CheckFree Wallet will be available on the Checkfree home page beginning in May. Web Merchants

By the end of the decade, Crone expects between 10 and 25 percent of the world's products to be bought and sold on-line.

About Checkfree

In 1994, Checkfree Corporation processed more than $6 billion in payments for consumers and corporate clients, with more than one million businesses benefiting from its services. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, the privately held company employs 370 full-time associates. Checkfree was founded in 1981.

Current Checkfree electronic bill payment licensees in the personal computer software and electronics industries include Block Financial Software, Computer Associates, Intuit and SmartPhone Communications.

Financial institutions/organizations served by Checkfree Corporation include MasterCard International; Chemical Bank of New York; Centura Bank; Signet Bank; Wells Fargo; Chevy Chase Bank; Comerica; Crestar; Space Coast Credit Union; First Interstate Bank; Dearborn, (MI.) Federal Credit Union; IBAA; Prodigy's Bill Pay USA Service; and USAA.

Corporations served by Checkfree's commercial services division include CompuServe, GEnie, Delphi, Reality Technologies, PSI/Pipeline, NetCom, Spry, Optigon, Cellular One and a host of other companies involved with interactive, mobile communications, and Internet access services.

-0- 4/10/95

/CONTACT: Jennifer Sims, 415-904-7070, ext. 275, or

, or Kathy Tom, 415-904-7070, ext. 274, or

, both of Access Public Relations, for Checkfree/ CO: Checkfree Corp. ST: Ohio IN: CPR FIN SU: PDT RB-LW -- SF016 -- 2154 04-10-95 20:02 EDT

AP-NY-04-10-95 2004EDT

This material is copyrighted and may not be republished without permission of the originating newspaper or wire service. NewsHound is a service of the San Jose Mercury News. For more information call 1-800-818-NEWS.