Wells Fargo Bank is in the first wave of participants in ClickRewards, an Internet shopping promotion developed by Netcentives Inc. of San Francisco.

The program involves issuance to on-line merchants of ClickPoints, which in turn can be given as rewards to customers for buying a product, registering for a service, or returning a survey.

ClickPoints would serve as digital currency for selections from the clickrewards.com Web site.

"Merchants' sales and profits will increase because consumers will invest more time and money on-line to earn valuable rewards" like software, sporting equipment, and frequent-flier miles, said Netcentives chief executive officer West Shell 3d.

Netcentives was founded in 1996 with venture capital backing and recruited engineering talent from such companies as Intuit Inc. and Verifone Inc.

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