That old-fashioned magnetic stripe on the back of the credit and debit cards in your wallet is about to exit stage left.
The size, scope and cost of the Target breach is forcing the U.S. retail and banking industries to grudgingly adopt a newer data security standard that has already been embraced by our friends across the pond for many years now.
Cards that store personal data on high-tech embedded smart chips, will still look and feel the same as the old cards. As consumers in dozens of countries have already discovered, so-called “smart cards” will deliver the same convenience but with greatly reduced vulnerability for point of sale transactions.
Credit cards with the embedded chips will also require the user to input a unique PIN number. This creates the sort of two-factor authentication that renders fraudulently cloned mag-stripe cards useless.
American retail and banking systems have already begun (with Target leading the way) to invest in safer smart card technology that will be ready to deploy by October 2015.