The first smart VISA card in Canada has been launched by RBC Royal Bank. RBC is upgrading its “Gold Avion VISA” to the English “Platinum Avion VISA” or the French “Platinum Voyages VISA”, and adding microchips to both platinum cards. It is the second nationally available smart payment card to be launched in Canada. RBC did not offer any details on chip application plans for the newly upgraded card. The current “Avion VISA” enables cardholders to earn points on their purchases and redeem them on any airline without regard to blackout periods or seat limitations. The current “Avion VISA” program also offers a 2,500 bonus points on sign-up, and every year thereafter, on renewal. The “Platinum Avion” card, currently being mailed out to cardholders to replace their “Avion Gold,” now enables cardholders to redeem their points for over 200 merchandise items, gift certificates and even cash vouchers for registered rewards. RBC also issues the “American Airlines AAdvantage VISA Gold” and “British Airways VISA Platinum.” One year ago, American Express and CIBC teamed to offer Canada’s first nationally available smart card. CIBC issues a suite of AmEx card products under the name ‘entourage’. For more information visit: www.rbc.com.