November 11, 2010, 11:09 AM

American Express launches a service for online discount seekers

The tool is the latest push by a card network to broaden its e-commerce reach.

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American Express Co. this week launched a service designed to help its cardholders find the latest online deals and discounts from retailers.

American Express cardholders can download from the payment card network’s web site a free tool called inSite. After installing the tool on their web browsers—log in requires an American Express user ID and password—consumers conducting online searches for products will see which retailers are offering deals to American Express cardholders. The tool identifies those retailers with a blue American Express icon and arrow. Placing a cursor over the icon reveals the retailer’s offer.

“Shoppers know that some of the best offers and deals can be found online, but traditionally, consumers are required to seek them out,” says Elizabeth Skinner, vice president of marketing for American Express. “We are transforming the online shopping experience by bringing those offers right to our cardmembers while they shop online.”

Deals available to American Express cardholders include free shipping, discounts and opportunities to redeem Membership Rewards points earned through Amex’s loyalty program, the payment card network says. American Express says at least 250 brands offer deals through inSite. Those brands include Banana Republic, owned by Gap. Inc., No 23 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, BarnesandNoble.com Inc., No. 42, and Crate and Barrel, No. 60.

With inSite, American Express becomes the latest major payment card network to try to tighten its hold on the loyalty of online shoppers. Visa Inc. earlier this year launched Rightcliq, an online shopping service, while MasterCard Worldwide introduced MasterCard MarketPlace, an online mall with more than 28,000 merchants.

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