updated 5/25/2005 10:16:37 AM ET 2005-05-25T14:16:37

Former customers of FleetBoston Financial Corp. will temporarily lose the ability to pay bills and make transfers through Fleet's online banking service while that system is integrated into Bank of America's online network as part of a merger.

Bank of America said online bill paying and transfers will be unavailable for some of Fleet's 5 million former customers during a three-and-a-half-day period in June and for others during July.

In Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Florida, online bill paying and transfers will be unavailable from Thursday, June 16, at 4:30 p.m. until Monday, June 20, at 6 a.m. In the second phase, customers in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania will not have those two services from Thursday, July 21, at 4:30 p.m. until Monday, July 25, at 6 a.m.

Customers will still be able to view account balances and transaction histories online during those periods, but will not be able to transfer money or pay bills online. Banking by phone will not be affected.

About 40,000 customers who have checking or savings accounts in states being changed over in June, and who also have a secondary account of some type in one of the states being changed in July, will not be able to do automated banking on the secondary accounts during the entire period.

Spokeswoman Alexandra Liftman said Bank of America was sending letters and e-mails about the service disruption to former Fleet customers and posting notices on its Web site.

"We're in the process of integrating two large, complex banking systems," Liftman said. "We've committed extensive resources to make this integration as seamless and transparent to our customers as possible."

Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America acquired Boston-based Fleet in April 2004 in a $48 billion deal. Bank of America has said it could be early 2006 before steps to combine the banks' operations are complete.

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