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Amazon Tip-Toes Into Banking Business

The online retailer has entered into a partnership with San Francisco lender Wells Fargo WFC 0.50 % & Co. in which the bank’s student-lending arm will offer interest-rate discounts to select Amazon shoppers.

An Amazon spokeswoman said this is the first time members of the company’s “Prime Student” service are receiving a student-loan offer by a lender through its site since that service was launched in 2010. The discount will be offered both to students who want loans to attend college and those who want to refinance existing loans.

The offer also represents the latest effort among private student lenders to stand out by discounting in an increasingly competitive market. Many offer discounts to customers who set up recurring payments to pay back their loans automatically or for loan refinancings by graduates who are members of professional associations.

Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. bank by market value and the second-largest private student lender by origination volume, will shave a half a percentage point off the interest rate...


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