Target Will Soon Take A Bite At The Apple (Pay)

Another big MCX merchant could soon embrace Apple Pay.

Last week, Target CEO Brian Cornell dropped a big hint that the retailer was open to accepting Apple Pay — indicating that Target would eventually accept the payment option. But first, he wants to see secure chip-and-PIN credit cards make their way across the market, according to what was reported out of Re/code's conference.

Cornell's attention spent talking about secure payment cards, of course, makes sense as Target works toward moving away from the massive breach that hit target at the end of 2013, which ended up compromising 40 million payment cards and personal details for 70 million customers. On the settlement side, however, Target's breach woes continue as it still faces more lawsuit settlements.

“Our focus is on getting chip-and-PIN in place in time for the holidays,” Cornell said at the conference. “Down the line we want to accept all the types of payments that our guests want. But this decision was all about focus. … It is a major undertaking to convert to chip-and-PIN, and I decided that we can’t distract the team.”

He also shared brief thoughts on Apple Pay.

“I’d love to have Apple Pay today,” he said, adding that he has spoken with Apple CEO Tim Cook about the possibility. “Once we finish, we’ll be open-minded."

If Target was to join the Apple Pay bandwagon, it would follow fellow MCX merchant Best Buy, which said it will soon accept Apple Pay (once its exclusivity deal with MCX expires this summer.) The rollout has begun with Best Buy’s mobile app, which now takes Apple Pay – but that acceptance will carry over into physical stores later this year, once the chain has had time to update its checkout systems for NFC compatibility.

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