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Target accelerates fraud protection effort

Minneapolis-Target will speed up implementation of smart cards in an effort to prevent credit card fraud, according to John Mulligan, Target cfo.

Mulligan made the announcement yesterday as part of his testimony before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary in Washington, D.C., where he discussed the company's response to the recent major data breach, its efforts to protect its shoppers and strengthen data security.

During his testimony, Mulligan said Target will equip its proprietary REDcards and all of its store card readers in the U.S. with chip-enabled smart-card technology by the first quarter of 2015, more than six months ahead of previous plans. The accelerated timing is part of a $100 million effort to put in place chip-enabled technology in all of Target's nearly 1,800 U.S. stores.

Chip-enabled smart cards contain a tiny microprocessor chip that encrypts the transaction data shared with sales terminals used by merchants. As a result, even if the card number is stolen in a data breach, the thieves cannot counterfeit the card. Similar technology already in use in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia has drastically reduced the incidence of fraud for consumers at physical store locations.

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