SAN FRANCISCO - Providian Financial Corp. will announce today that it is introducing a smart card product, the Providian Visa with Smart Technology.

Starting this month the card will be made available "by invitation only" through a direct mailing to customers who would normally qualify for platinum cards. Eventually, Providian says, it will issue the card "to all creditworthy individuals across the spectrum," said Bill Buchanan, senior vice president of Providian.

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