iCat, a Seattle-based builder of commercial Web sites, is seeking banks that want to offer on-line stores to their merchant customers.

Banks using the service could host Internet malls as a service to retailer depositors, according to iCat, an Intel Corp. subsidiary that has built Internet stores for 10,000 small and midsize businesses.

"We will take the software and put it on a server, then it will be branded by the financial institution," said Doug Schulze, general manager of iCat. "The bank's responsibility is to market the program to its merchant customers, and to bring people in the door of the Web shops."

Under the iCat E-commerce Provider Program, each merchant would get its own Internet address, and its site could also be linked to the bank's.

Through a deal with Visa U.S.A., each site will be able to process transactions made with Visa purchasing cards, which are used for business- to-business transactions.

The arrangement with iCat "really opens the door for our purchasing card holders to find places where they can get advanced transaction data consistently and accurately," said Ryan Ross, vice president of new and emerging markets at Visa.

"We've been hearing back from our purchasing card holders that they want consistent and enhanced data they can review on an ongoing basis."

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