Aiming in the short term to cash in on the online holiday shopping season, several major banks including Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and First Union have formed partnerships with Internet retailers and begun promoting the merchants goods on bank-sponsored Web sites.
Experts say the strategy, which is ultimately meant to improve customer loyalty and foster e-commerce, is risky. They say that it puts the banks in the position of vouching for the e-tailers which have spotty track records for on-time shipping and a penchant for abrupt shutdowns and that it remains to be seen whether these alliances can generate worthwhile revenue. Still, the potential seems vast for sites like chaseshop.com, which can be reached by click-through at chasemanhattan.com. At chaseshop, under the familiar blue Chase Manhattan Corp. logo, people are invited to select from 4.5 million products supplied by 25,000 merchants. Those who submit a personalized shopping profile will receive special sale offers and digital coupons tailored to their tastes. Cardholders are promised extra benefits and reminded that, as a valued cardmember, you will not be liable for any online purchases if your Chase credit or debit card is used without your authorization.