I want an electronic billing address -- basically just an email address like <accountname>@<billingservice.com>. Any service provider, credit card, bank, or anyone that needs to send me a bill is given that address, not my mailing address. When bills are created, they're simply POSTed to a standard server URL over SSL, like 'https://incoming.billingservice.com/accountname', parsed, confirmed, and everything is handled from there. No need to scrape pages, scan paper bills, or anything of the sort. Payment information for the bill would be included with the bill itself, and confirmation of payment received would function in the same way, with another POST. Human-readable bills would be sent to a standard e-mail address as they are now, and everyone's happy. Payments to that vendor would be handled in the same manner, destined for an address contained in the original billing XML POST.
It all seems very simple, and perhaps there are initiatives to do something similar to this, but I haven't seen anything like what I've mentioned here. I would think that there's an opportunity here for a clever company to provide this service for other companies, which would seem like a win for everyone.
Something like this is sure to happen in the future, and it's certainly technically possible to do this now, but perhaps we haven't reached a critical mass of electronic billing users to come to a consensus and really make it happen. Of course if enough people run into the problems that I have, that might take some time.
If anyone has more insight on this subject, I'd love to hear from you.