Hispanic customers of JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo have long been able to pay bills or transfer money online — but only in English.

Now, to reach their growing numbers of Latino customers and to catch up with their biggest rivals, both companies are planning to expand their Spanish-language online banking services by early next year.

Both Bank of America and Citigroup have long offered their customers ways to make transactions online in Spanish. But Wells and JPMorgan Chase have lagged behind. Both banks currently have links on their websites to "Espanol" pages, which provide some Spanish-language disclosures and information about topics from personal banking to home finance. But neither bank has added transactional online banking capabilities, which allow customers to access their accounts and bank online in Spanish.

Now Wells is planning to unveil those capabilities by early next year. The San Francisco bank has long relied on business from Hispanic customers, but executives said that successfully building out sophisticated Spanish-language online banking can be time-consuming and expensive.

"It's very easy to put up a website, but it's very hard to do it right," says Teddy De Rivera, senior vice president of portfolio strategy and emerging trends at Wells Fargo's internet services group. "And if you don't do it right, the consequences can be very severe. Especially if you're moving money, the impact to customers can be horrendous."

JPMorgan Chase plans to offer customers ways to conduct transactions online in Spanish by the end of the year, according to spokesman Patrick Linehan.

"The Hispanic/Latino segment is an important and growing market for us and we currently offer a number of Spanish-language services. We expect to further expand these services by year-end," he said in an emailed statement.

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