Account Pool Feature Patented for GE'S Corporate Payment Services Settlement Tool

Automated capability supports increased control and data capture offered by MasterCard-based product

Automated capability supports increased control and data capture offered by MasterCard-based product

Salt Lake City — June 9, 2005 — GE's Corporate Payment Services unit has secured a U.S. patent covering aspects of the account pool feature of its vPayment electronic settlement tool, a payment automation tool that integrates with corporate procurement and accounts payable (AP) systems and processes, the company has announced.

With the newly patented technology, when an organization requests a vPayment account to pay an invoice or purchase order, the GE-hosted vPayment server selects a unique account number from an account pool and provides it to the organization via a secure Web site or encrypted link to the organization's procurement or AP system.

The account number selected has dollar- and date-range controls specific to the transaction in question. The supplier given the vPayment account number cannot subsequently charge to the account once the specified amount is settled. If the merchant attempts to charge above the dollar amount or beyond the date range specified, the transaction is declined.

When fully used, the account number returns to the account pool and remains inactive until selected at a later date, usually for a different amount with a different supplier.

vPayment also captures a unique identifier, such as purchase order or invoice number, in the MasterCard transaction record. This unique identifier links the transaction to the purchasing information without manual intervention.

"vPayment is a supplier-friendly way to reduce your organization's dependence on the time-consuming check writing process," explained Jeffery R. Dye, president and CEO of Corporate Payment Services, the commercial card unit of GE Consumer Finance. "It offers the controls of a check, the float of a purchasing card and the efficiency of electronic funds transfer."

In effect, vPayment transactions flow to an organization's general ledger "hands free," GE said in announcing the new technology patent. vPayment passes unique accounting information regardless of the merchant's data capture capability (Level 1, 2 or 3).

"Organizations and suppliers alike can benefit from vPayment," Dye said. "Unlike electronic funds transfer (EFT), merchants need no special training or set-up and can follow the standard credit card process to receive payment. Organizations enjoy improved controllership, automated reconciliation, reduced administration, and better cash flow."

Other features and benefits include the fact that the vPayment is accepted at millions of MasterCard merchants; the vPayment accounts use no physical plastic, increasing controllership; and the solution provides for exception reporting.

The account pool feature is the third and latest patent associated with vPayment. The integrated version of vPayment first launched in December 2001.

Additional Articles of Interest

For more information on the current state of the payment solutions market, see the article "The Analyst Corner: Payment" in the December 2004/January 2005 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— P-cards continue to advance, and e-payables solutions are making headway, but the convergence of the financial and physical supply chains is still a work in progress. Read more in "Enabling the Financial Supply and Demand Chain," in the April/May 2005 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.