Bank of America to Compete with Groupon?

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) may be stepping on Groupon’s (NASDAQ:GRPN) toes as it tests a new service this week that will offer online retail discounts to customers based on their spending habits.

Testing of the new BankAmeriDeals program begins this week with Bank of America employees in North Carolina, South Carolina and Nevada, with the program scheduled to launch to the rest of its workforce in February, said a report in the Financial Post.

Customers will be notified of offers through the bank’s online banking website, and discounts will be distributed monthly as cash payments. The BankAmeriDeals service, unlike Groupon, will not take payments from customers or merchants. Instead, Bank of America is aiming for the service to produce more account activity.

BankAmeriDeals will likely attract more card use and account activity for the bank, said Beth Robertson, director of payments research at consulting firm Javelin Strategy & Research. The service may be popular with customers because the discounts are for stores where they already shop, instead of for products “they might be interested in,” she said.