Target switches to PIN card for better security

Target (NYSE:TGT) is converting its branded credit card to contain a PIN. Almost two years since its disastrous security breach leading up to the holidays in 2013, the retailer becomes the first major credit card issuer to convert to an EMV card that uses a PIN number for varification rather than a signature.

Target began notifying its credit card customers this week that new MasterCards will be arriving containing computer chips as well as PINs, reported. 

The decision comes at a time when the FBI is claiming that credit and debit cards that require PINs are safer. However, most banks and other credit card issuers are resisting the conversion because of cost and another PIN in a world with passwords.

The United States is in the midst of a shift to credit and debit cards with EMV computer chips, the deadline was Oct. 1, but many have missed this date. Transactions with these cards are more secure and can't be duplicated. However, if information of this type is stolen during a data breach, it can be used to create a counterfeit card. The idea behind the PIN is that a counterfeit card would be unusable without the personal PIN.

Target customers will need a PIN to use the new credit cards in their stores, but it's unclear if a PIN will be needed when the card is used at another retailer.

The move to PIN comes at a time when the list of retailers reporting breaches continues to grow. In the past year and a half alone, big-name retailers such as Kmart, Staples, Dairy Queen, Home Depot, Michael's and Supervalu have all been hit by large-scale data breaches.

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