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Federal Reserve to Launch Direct Payment Program

For release: January 19, 2001
Contact: Marilyn Wimp, (215) 574-4197

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia will launch its second Direct Payment Campaign Jan. 22 in Harrisburg, Pa. The Federal Reserve Bank is working with Harrisburg area businesses to form a partnership to promote direct payment, which allows consumers to have bills paid automatically from their bank account.

"Direct payment is secure and confidential," said Steve Hart, an officer representing the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. It's a convenient and reliable method to pay utility bills, mortgages, car loans, insurance premiums, cable TV subscriptions, investments and credit card payments, he added.

"Direct payment has been available for 25 years, yet consumers haven't embraced this system that works on the same network as direct deposit. We'd like to see more people using direct payment and we'd like consumers who are using it to take advantage of it in all their bill paying," Hart said.

Central Pennsylvania has a wide-range of billers willing to support a direct payment program. Participating businesses in this year's campaign are: PP&L; GPU Energy; United Water; Pennsylvania-American Water Co.; Lower Paxton Township Authority; and UGI Utilities, Adams Electric Coop.; Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania; Susquehanna Communications; The City of York Sewer and Refuse; and the York Water Co. Each company has made a commitment to this three-month campaign highlighting electronic bill paying as secure and convenient. Area financial institutions also are playing an important role in educating the public about how direct payment works and how its customers can participate.

"Direct payment benefits consumers, companies and financial institutions, and creates a more effective payments system for the entire country," Hart said.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia serves depository institutions in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware by supplying cash to these banks and thrifts; supervising them; collecting and processing about 4.6 million checks daily; and wiring money and securities nationwide; as well as participating in the broader objective of setting monetary policy.

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