When the EMV transition occurred at the beginning of the month, some experts were left wondering why PINs weren't involved alongside secure chips. Evidently, Target had been wondering the same thing.
Cleveland.com reported that Target has been emailing customers enrolled in its store credit card program and informing them that they would be sending them new cards for which they would set their own personal PINs. Only years removed from one of the largest data breaches in retail history, Target's move in favor of the chip-and-PIN method aims to increase the security of customers' accounts.
"By requiring a PIN, [customers] are benefiting from an additional layer of security to help protect against someone using their card if it's lost or stolen," Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Target, told Cleveland.com.
According to Credit.com, this makes Target the first major U.S. credit card issuer to embrace the chip-and-PIN setup. However, this throws a wrench into Target's partnership with Visa, a cooperation that issued co-branded cards that customers could use anywhere. Visa has not announced support for chip-and-PIN cards, and customers with these co-branded accounts will be switched over to new cards issued through MasterCard. Even though the cards will come with magnetic strips, Target told Credit.com that it prefers using the chip-and-PIN method in almost every case - Target uses a dip and PIN process for its stores' checkouts.
Of course, Target's wholesale switch to chip-and-PIN cards would not be possible without first upgrading all of its locations' checkout terminals, a move that Target told CNN it has already completed.