First Data Resources said its Plasticard Custom Services division will personalize Visa Cash smart cards.

The First Data Corp. unit said it is among the first three service organizations authorized to program the cards with such cardholder-specific information as currency type, expiration date, and the maximum dollar amount that can be stored in the computer chip.

First Data would also add encryption keys that authenticate transactions. As it does with standard plastic cards, the processor prints the graphics and other details on the cards.

"This certification broadens the scope of services we can provide to our clients," said Tim Rosenthal, senior vice president of the Plasticard division. Along with personalization, First Data offers "a complete smart card solution through partnerships with smart card manufacturers."

In May, the company announced an alliance with the card manufacturer Schlumberger that can deliver turnkey systems to universities, retailers, telephone companies, and financial institutions.

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