Can you imagine inserting a microchip-implanted credit card into a slot instead of the standard "swipe" when you pay for your groceries?
They've been doing it in Europe for nearly a decade, and the cards – thought to be the "next generation" – will be at Target's checkouts by the end of the month, Target Spokeswoman Molly Snyder told BringMeTheNews.
The Minneapolis retailer is implementing the new system – considered much more secure than the longstanding "magnetic strip" credit cards – in the wake of the massive data breach in 2013 that compromised the personal information of tens of millions of consumers.
Snyder told BringMeTheNews the machines have actually been in all stores since last September, but since then, the company has been working to implement the necessary software (however, some locations have already started using the readers).
While that upgrade process was speeded up by six months in light of the 2013 breach, the spokeswoman points out that the switch to the new cards was already well underway before the hackers struck.
What the change means
So what makes these new cards so much better than the one you probably have in your wallet?
As CreditCards.com explains, the chip in the newer ones – referred to as EMV (which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa – the three companies that pioneered it) – generates a "unique transaction code" for every purchase that cannot be used again.
On the other hand, the website says, the magnetic stripes on traditional cards contain "unchanging" data, which includes sensitive cardholder information that is often targeted by counterfeiters.
According to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, the new card-readers will be able to scan the chip-cards in about 1,300 locations by the end of this week.
Another big change concerns the Target REDCard, which the company will begin replacing with EMV chip cards by the end of the year, Snyder told BringMeTheNews.
Other changes coming to the Bullseye
The retailer has decided that just one name will do at all its stores, regardless of their size – and that name is simply "Target."
While the new, smaller-format stores, which are tailored to more urban environments and aimed at on-the-go consumers, had names like "CityTarget" and "TargetExpress," the company has decided to rebrand them to share the name of their larger, suburban counterparts, the Star Tribune reports.
The simplification, the paper says, will help avoid customer confusion.
The new technology will zap coupons and special offers to customers' phones depending on where they are in the store.
Target says the new feature will be tested at 50 locations nationwide, including stores in Minneapolis. To read more about how this new technology works, click here.