This follows the successful launch of the Chase ‘blink’ credit card in New York last autumn, with more than seven million Chase customers now owning the contactless technology cards.

The bank, which claims it is the first Visa issuer to offer contactless payment capability on debit cards, will issue 1.8 million cards to customers in the Tri-State area.

Customers can make purchases by holding the card close to a participating merchant’s card reader at the checkout. Around 2,000 merchant locations in the New York/Tri-state area and more than 30,000 in the US are equipped to accept the contactless payments.

Our credit card customers have really liked blink, so we’re bringing the same convenience to our Tri-State debit card customers, said Michael Cleary, chief operating officer of Chase’s consumer bank.

This is the latest development in the wave of contactless payment product launches. Wells Fargo, the US financial services company, recently revealed plans to launch to two new credit cards using Visa contactless technology in the second half of 2006.