In less four weeks the most significant launch of smart VISA cards in the USA will get underway. Target unveiled this week the design of its new smart VISA card which will start taking applications on November 1st. The new VISA card will be issued by Retailers National Bank, an affiliate of Target. The launch is significant in both the potential number of smart cards to be issued and the number of smart card terminals to be deployed. Target announced in June it will deploy smart card POS terminals in all 990 Target Stores by the spring of 2002. Target currently has 36.4 million retail credit card and plans to convert millions of these accounts to smart VISA cards. Target also expects to expand the functionality of its current rewards program offered under the Target Guest Card program with the new smart card. The company currently operates 1,320 stores in 46 states including 990 Target stores, 266 Mervyn’s stores and 64 Marshall Field’s stores. VISA says it expects the Target program will contribute significant growth to the number of smart VISA cards issued in the USA. VISA projects there will be about seven million smart VISA cards-in-force by year’s end among all its current issuers. Providian, the biggest cheerleader of the smart VISA card, broke through the one million card level in June, and intends to migrate nearly all its 17 million accounts to smart cards. Combined, Fleet and First USA have issued less than one million smart VISA cards to-date.