Three of the four largest U.S. banks are launching a system that lets customers transfer money from their checking accounts using only a mobile number or e-mail address.

The banks say the service, called clearXchange, will make payments easier than traditional money transfers, which require a bank routing number and move through a system controlled by Federal Reserve banks.

The service is a joint venture between Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. They are rolling it out nationally. The banks expect to add other financial institutions.

Charlotte will be the home for the new operation, and it will be run by a Bank of America executive.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The service poses a threat to eBay Inc.’s PayPal business, which currently dominates the market for online, electronic payments.

“Our goal is to provide convenient and safe financial services options for our customers,” said David Owen, eCommerce, Claims and Fraud executive at Bank of America, in a statement. “By creating a utility like clearXchange, we are able to meet the needs of our customers and differentiate our capabilities from other offerings in the marketplace.”

“This is an innovative game-changer in electronic payments,” added Mike Kennedy, executive vice president and head of Payments Strategy at Wells Fargo. “We want our customers to be able to easily send money to anyone without having to establish a new account outside their primary bank. All our customers need to know is the e-mail address or mobile number of a friend or family member and we will take care of the rest utilizing clearXchange.”

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