First Data Corp. has set up a smart card business to support banks and merchants that want to issue or accept chip cards.

On the card issuing side of the business, First Data is embossing and mailing the Visa smart cards that two of its big bank clients - FleetBoston Financial Corp. and the First USA division of Bank One Corp. - began issuing to the public this fall. On the merchant side, the giant transaction processing company is working with retailers to get them equipped to accept chip cards.

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