January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Blue Sky For Blue Card

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

American Express Co. expects to have 3 million to 4 million Blue credit cards in the market within the next few months, sources tell Faulkner & Gray. AmEx, which declines to release card volumes, has confirmed that demand for the chip-based Blue card has substantially exceeded expectations.

AmEx has said it will soon allow Blue cardholders to download new services. Sources say these services include loyalty programs and travel and entertainment services. In anticipation, AmEx has been ordering chip cards with among the highest application memory available.

Earlier this year, New York City-based AmEx ordered 1 million cards with 32 kilobytes of memory, which can accommodate several applications. Today, the lone application on the Blue card chip is security for Internet shopping by means of a digital certificate that authenticates cardholders to AmEx Web servers. The Blue credit application is stored on a magnetic stripe.

Puteaux, France-based Oberthur Card Systems is supplying the cards to AmEx. Eindhoven, Netherlands-based Philips Semiconductors is manufacturing the 32K chips.

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