Target puts EMV migration on fast track

Feb. 5, 2014

This week, Target Corp. called for all stakeholders to take up the "shared responsibility" of payments security as it announced an accelerated timeline for its own $100 million EMV migration plan. The announcement follows a data breach at Target that could ultimately cost the retail giant as much as $1 billion, according to industry watchers.

The company's CFO, John Mulligan, announced the accelerated schedule in a letter published by The Hill one day prior to testifying about the breach before a Senate committee:

At Target, we've been working for years towards adoption of this technology. Since the breach, we are accelerating our own $100 million investment to put chip-enabled technology in place. Our goal: implement this technology in our stores and on our proprietary REDcards by early 2015, more than six months ahead of our previous plan.

Mulligan also advocated for the use of a four-digit PIN with EMV transactions, which he said would make them more secure than a chip-and-signature system:

To be frank, there is no consensus across the business community on the use of PINs in conjunction with chip-enabled cards. But Target supports the goal and will work toward adoption of the practice in our own stores and more widely.

Target is also investing in solutions that will make mobile transactions more secure, we hope in the near future. And we know work is needed to strengthen protections for e-commerce, an important long-term goal. In the meantime, adopting chip-enabled cards would be a clear step in the right direction.

The question of how the payments industry should share the cost of EMV migration had slowed implementation in the U.S., Mulligan wrote, but now it is time for stakeholders to work together for a more secure payments environment.

The reported attacks on Target and Neiman Marcus underline the need to do more. If we truly want to prevent this from happening again, the business community must move together. No one company or industry can solve this challenge on its own. Strengthening consumer protection requires a coordinated response. This is a shared responsibility.

Read more about retail payments.

Topics: Payments , PCI Compliance , POS

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