Wells Fargo Enters Web Hosting Market



Wells Fargo & Co., one of the leading banks on the Internet,today will launch One Stop eStore, a service that provides Web hosting and online payment processing to small businesses. The San Francisco bank company will charge a business $45 a month for the Web site, plus a fee for each payment transaction processed. Customers who want only payment processing can buy that service as a standalone product. Wells Fargo's partner in the venture is First Data Corp., an Atlanta payment and transaction processing company. The One Stop eStore system will run on First Data servers.

More than 1 million small companies do business with Wells Fargo, and the bank hopes that providing technology services will lock them in as loyal customers. "We think it's a good retention strategy," says Debra Rossi, Wells Fargo executive VP of merchant card services.

On another E-commerce front, Wells Fargo will consolidate bills from its commercial customers and present them to consumers who also are Wells Fargo customers, using billing technology it has licensed from Just In Time Solutions Inc. A bank unit is piloting Just In Time's BillCast 2.0 software, which lets customers pay their bills online as well as view and manipulate billing data.

Wells Fargo plans to offer similar billing services to customers who bank with Chase Manhattan Corp. and First Union Corp., making Wells Fargo a central hub for exchanging bills between consumers and merchants.

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