When it comes to smart cards American Express wants you to think Blue. But Providian wants you to think Ruby Red, Forest Green, Sapphire Blue, Topaz Yellow and Moonstone Gray. No question, Providian offers the sexiest line of smart cards in the U.S. Of the three U.S. issuers offering smart VISA cards, Providian has also emerged as the clear leader. So far, about 1.5 million smart VISA cards have been issued by Providian, Fleet, and First USA combined. American Express, which launched a smart card a year earlier than VISA, has signed up more than six million cardholders. While smart cards offer very attractive pricing and generous perks, they offer little in the way of new functionality. But this will change over the next two years. Providian said this week it is migrating to smart cards quickly and their cards will become the most functional multi-application 32K chip smart card available in the U.S. Among new and existing features of Providian’s smart cards: Smart Access Key PIN (for more secure online transactions when used with a card reader); Electronic payment; Customizable web tools; Multiple-merchant loyalty program capability; and use as a debit card for transactions such as mass transit. For more information visit www.providian.com.