(USA TODAY) -- Starting next year, Target will issue its branded credit and debit cards as MasterCard chip-and-pin cards, the company said Tuesday.
The retailer's REDcard portfolio includes a Target-branded debit card, credit card, and a co-branded credit card with Visa that the company stopped issuing in 2010. All three will be reissued with MasterCard's chip-and-pin technology.
Cards with chip-and-pin technology are considered more secure than the magnetic stripe cards most of us use now because they are embedded with a microchip that generates a different, single-use code to process every transaction you make. That means the card data is practically impossible to counterfeit, because even if the data is hacked, it can't be used again.
The announcement comes as Target is already in the process of replacing its store registers to accept chip-and-pin cards as the company brings a renewed commitment to information security after suffering one of the largest data breaches in retail last year. Since the breach, Target sped up its adoption of the technology and committed $100 million to the effort.
Sixty to 70 stores a week are being updated with new registers, with 12,000 total updated so far, says spokeswoman Molly Snyder. Target plans to have all stores updated with the registers by September.
Snyder says Target chose MasterCard over its existing agreement with Visa because "MasterCard technology will be able to be used across all three types of cards."
USA TODAY has contacted Visa for comment.
Target also announced that it hired a new chief information officer. Bob DeRodes, who joins Target from the payment processing company First Data, will take over as CIO next week. Former CIO Beth Jacob resigned in March.
"Establishing a clear path forward for Target following the data breach has been my top priority," CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a company statement. "I believe Target has a tremendous opportunity to take the lessons learned from this incident and enhance our overall approach to data security and information technology. Bob's history of leading transformational change positions him well to lead our continued breach responses and guide our long-term digital strategy."
DeRodes previously worked as CIO at The Home Depot and was a government adviser in information technology.