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SunTrust Banks Inc. says it is using Moneta Corp.'s online-payment service for a pilot involving 75,000 customers. Similar to eBay Inc.'s PayPal service, Moneta uses proprietary software to process transactions using the automated clearinghouse system for settlement. The pilot began last month, and SunTrust has not set a date for when the test will finish, according to Hugh Gallagher, SunTrust senior vice president for deposit product management. Customers participating in the pilot can link their SunTrust accounts to Moneta and use the service to pay for goods and services at participating online retailers. Moneta's largest merchant partner is Delta Air Lines Inc. SunTrust decided to dabble in the alternative-payments space for several reasons, Gallagher tells CardLine sister publication ATM&Debit News. "There has always been a fairly sizable part of the population, for a variety of reasons, who are not comfortable using cards over the Internet to make purchases," he says. More importantly, however, the Moneta partnership gives SunTrust an additional revenue stream connected to the demand deposit account, Gallagher adds. With the partnership, Moneta is positioning itself as a bank-friendly alternative payment, says Guido Sacchi, Moneta CEO. "We believe that banks can be a great engine of customer acquisition for us," he says. Steve Karp, SunTrust executive vice president of enterprise payments strategy, told attendees last month at the ATM, Debit & Prepaid Forum hosted by SourceMedia, CardLine's publisher, that the bank wants to test alternative payments "to be defensive and at least try to get a few pennies back" that financial institutions lose every year to alternative methods consumers are using to pay.

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