Spending to Save

Sterling Commerce offers hosted service for e-payment capability

Columbus, OH  July 16, 2002  Sterling Commerce introduced the Sterling ePayment Gateway, a hosted service that gives companies of all sizes the ability to incorporate electronic payments into their existing e-business infrastructure.

The Sterling ePayment Gateway combines Sterling Commerce's financial technologies and the services of Sterling Information Broker. As a hosted service within the electronic trading network, Sterling Commerce said the ePayment Gateway eliminates the need for additional investments in hardware, software or technical resources. It also allows enterprises to transact payments and remittance information with business partners that use electronic data interchange (EDI), as well as with those that do not.

Sam Starr, Sterling Commerce's chief operating officer, said, "Today, most payment processes within enterprises still have components that are not automated  a fact that takes a toll both in cost and efficiency. Buyers and sellers 'buy, sell and ship' via EDI infrastructure, but buyers often turn to separate processes for the 'pay' function. With the Sterling ePayment Gateway, businesses can leverage existing infrastructure to include electronic payments and improve working capital management."

According to Sterling Commerce, the new service brings benefits to both the accounts receivable and accounts payable departments of enterprises. A buyer sends an EDI payment order document to the Sterling ePayment Gateway where it is converted into an automated clearinghouse (ACH) format. It is then sent to the appropriate financial institution. The seller may receive an optional remittance advice generated from the original payment order.

For the buyer, sending electronic payments can reduce or eliminate manual processing costs and increase the likelihood of discounts for faster payments, Sterling Commerce said. For the seller, receiving payments electronically can help them take advantage of comprehensive accounts receivable file translation and merging to reduce lock box charges. It also decreases "wait time" for payment, and allows them to be notified via an electronic remittance when a payment is being sent. Either the buyer or the seller can sponsor an ePayment Gateway program.

 The Sterling ePayment Gateway integrates with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and can reach smaller trading partners through optional Sterling Web Forms or Sterling eTransaction Manager interfaces.

Sterling eTransaction Manager integrates to accounting software. In addition, the ePayment Gateway implementation process is performed by Sterling Commerce's E-Community Development services.

The Sterling ePayment Gateway is immediately available in the United States. Pricing is based upon a per-payment surcharge with a tiered document structure, which means the more documents, the lower the rate.