SAN FRANCISCO — Visa U.S.A. on Monday announced the availability of its first chip card designed for use by corporate cardholders, smart Visa Business.

FleetBoston Financial Corp. will be the first issuer of the new product, which is primarily aimed at small-business owners. The card comes with an electronic wallet that Visa says will make Internet payments smoother, using both magnetic stripe and chip-based payment technologies.

According to Visa, businesses that use the smart card and a cardreader will get enhanced security while shopping online, be better able to take advantage of rewards programs, and more easily obtain volume discounts from suppliers.

“Business owners need products and services that save them time and money,” said Tony McEwen, executive vice president, Visa U.S.A. “Smart Visa Business continues our aggressive efforts in the smart card arena.”

American Express Co., which was first to market in the United States with a widely available commercial smart card product, Blue, also issues Blue for Business, a card meant for the same audience as smart Visa Business.

Visa’s chip card for consumers, which also has an electronic wallet feature, is being issued by FleetBoston, Providian Financial Corp., and the First USA division of Bank One Corp. MasterCard International does not yet have any banks issuing chip in the United States.

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