In a move designed to encourage improved data and payment security nationwide, President Barack Obama on Oct. 17 signed an executive order establishing government adoption of technology and resources to better protect consumer credit, transactions and identity theft.
The BuySecure Initiative institutes the use of chip and PIN technology in government-issued credit and debit cards and also orders improved resources for victims of identity theft. The executive order tasks the Secretary of the Department of Treasury with ensuring that government agencies have the new security features by Jan. 1, 2015, as well as a plan for installing them.
Chip and PIN technology, which has been employed in Europe for many years, replaces traditional magnetic stripe equipment with smartcard technology. Credit and debit cards contain an embedded microchip and are authenticated automatically using a personal identification number.
The order was quickly praised by retail groups, including the National Retail Federation (NRF), the National Grocers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
“We applaud the administration for taking proactive and positive steps by adopting PIN and chip technology for government-issued debit and credit cards, among other things,” the NRF said in a statement. “This is not an issue about large retail versus small, or global financial institutions versus community banks and credit unions, or the federal government versus municipalities. We all stand together in seeking solutions to prevent criminals from accessing personal financial data regarding our customers, investors and citizens through preventable data breaches.”
President Obama said some of the nation’s largest retailers, including Home Depot, Target, Walgreens and Walmart, have pledged to adopt chip and PIN technology by 2015. He added that American Express also has pledged $10 million to replace outdated card readers at small businesses. MasterCard has pledged to provide customers with free identity-theft monitoring.
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