Intuit purchased Paytrust's customer base from Metavante--a banking and bill-pay technology company owned by Wisconsin-based Marshall & Ilsley--at the end of 2004, Metavante spokesman Chip Swearngan said. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Swearngan said Metavante's Bill Manager V6 software will continue to power the site.
"The intent is to make this a positive thing for Paytrust customers," said Ed McLaughlin, one of Paytrust's founders, adding that as a major provider of consumer services, Intuit would be able to grow the business in a way the more corporate-focused Metavante couldn't.
Earlier in the year, Intuit and Metavante had reached an agreement to migrate Quicken Bill Pay customers to the same Metavante software.
Benefits to Users
Repetto said that Intuit would be able to provide free phone support around the clock; Paytrust's phone service, while free, was only available 16 hours a day.
With its acquisition of PayMyBills.com in 2000, Paytrust became one of the most prominent online bill pay services of the dot-com era. Neither Intuit nor Metavante would disclose how many clients Paytrust has, but analyst Jim Van Dyke of Javelin Strategy & Research estimated the number falls between 100,000 and 200,000.
Van Dyke said that from the companies' standpoint, the deal made sense because both Paytrust and Intuit's Quicken line "are two products that I would call interface-heavy." Also, neither has been attracting new customers lately, and the partnership might help grow both the businesses, he said.
TowerGroup analyst Beth Robertson concurred, adding that she couldn't imagine that the service would change in a way that would alienate users. "The core functionality is still being run by Metavante, so you'll still have the same level of service," she said.