Six months after launching Blue - the first U.S. credit card with a microprocessor chip as well as a magnetic stripe - American Express Co. said it can hardly keep up with demand, and the product's early popularity is raising smart card proponents' hopes that the technology will take off in this country.

American Express would not say how many cards have been issued, but Oberthur Card Systems - Blue's supplier - said it received an initial ship order of one million. A survey by Brittain Associates Inc. found more than a million Blue cardholders already, and analysts said they expect two million by yearend.

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