USA Today reports that Target will issue its branded credit and debit cards as MasterCard chip-and-pin cards starting in 2015. The retailer's REDcard portfolio includes a Target-branded debit card, credit card, and a co-branded credit card with Visa that the company stopped issuing in 2010. All three will be reissued with MasterCard's chip-and-pin technology. Shown here is a prototype of the cards.
Cards with chip-and-pin technology are considered more secure than traditional magnetic stripe cards because they are embedded with a microchip that generates a different, single-use code to process every transaction you make. That means the card data is practically impossible to counterfeit, because even if the data is hacked, it can't be used again.
The announcement comes as Target is already in the process of replacing its store registers to accept chip-and-pin cards as the company brings a renewed commitment to information security after suffering one of the largest data breaches in retail last year. Since the breach, Target sped up its adoption of the technology and has committed $100 million to the effort.
Sixty to 70 stores a week are being updated with new registers, with 12,000 total updated so far, says spokeswoman Molly Snyder, with plans to have all stores updated with the registers by September. Snyder would not elaborate on why Target didn't continue working with Visa to issue chip-and-pin cards, other than to say, "The decision was made to go with the MasterCard platform. MasterCard technology will be able to be used across all three types of cards."