Target Wants To Perfect Chip-and-PIN Before Venturing Into Digital Payment Methods

Consumers and businesses alike are always seeking out ways to streamline the checkout experience, most recently with mobile payment systems like Apple Pay and Android Pay. But there’s one major retailer that won’t be jumping into new payment options just yet.

Before Target adds digital payment capabilities at store registers, the company plans to make sure its use of traditional payment methods is as secure as possible, Re/Code reports.

The retailer’s desire to ensure the security of payment systems isn’t entirely surprising, as the company is still bouncing back from a massive December 2013 data breach that affected more than 110 million consumers.

Brian Cornell, Target’s new CEO, tells Re/Code that while he would “love to have Apple Pay today,” the company’s priority is to complete its transition to the more secure chip-and-PIN system.

“Our focus is on getting chip-and-PIN in place in time for the holidays,” Cornell said at the second annual Code Conference. Target currently supports Apple Pay for online purchases.

The company has been upgrading registers to accept chip-and-pin cards since last spring and previously announced its own REDcard debit and credit cards would be reissued with MasterCard chip-and-PIN (or EMV) technology.

Already in use in Europe, EMV (short for “Europay, MasterCard and Visa”) technology cuts back on card fraud because the chips make cards significantly harder to clone: even if you get all of the information from a card’s magnetic strip, as through a skimmer, without the chip actually being present the card data is useless in a physical transaction.

However, while the use of EMV technology in a card does make it more difficult to clone a card for in-person transactions, it doesn’t necessarily prevent an ID thief from using stolen card numbers for online or phone purchases. There is no such thing as a card that is 100% safe from clever criminals.

Cornell tells Re/Code that the transition to the more secure system has been a “major undertaking” and that the company’s team shouldn’t be distracted by payment methods.

“Down the line we want to accept all the types of payments that our guests want,” he said. “But this decision was all about focus.”

Target CEO would ‘love’ to have Apple Pay [Re/Code]

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