Tech Industry

Wells Fargo enters e-tailing

First the bank put Starbuck's in its branches and ATM machines in supermarkets, and now it's offering Valentine's Day gift shopping on its Web site.

Wells Fargo put Starbuck's coffee stores in its branches, and ATM machines in supermarkets. Now it's getting into e-tailing.

The San Francisco, California-based bank said it is offering a Valentine's Day gift shopping area on its banking Web site for buying candy, roses, or a CD, or for sending a card.

The launch shows that banks, not just media companies and search engines, are behaving as so-called Web portals to lure customers--and make money. Wells Fargo has struck deals with Flowers USA, See's Candies, Greeting-cards.com, and K-Tel for its e-commerce offerings.

More online features are expected later. "As we continue to grow our online offerings, customers will be able to take advantage of a variety of new services from shopping to electronic bill delivery," said Sharon Osberg, executive vice president of Online Financial Services at Wells Fargo in a statement.

While unusual for a bank, financial giants such as Charles Schwab are beefing up their Web sites to provide more online features. Wells said it first offered online services in 1989 and in 1995 offered banking on the Net.