Congress Investigating Credit Card Security Breaches

By CBS News

Published 02/04 2014 06:57AM

Updated 02/04 2014 06:59AM

WASHINGTON, DC -- Congress is looking at new ways to keep your personal credit card information safe after recent high-profile security breaches at some of America's top retailers. 

Executives with Target and Neiman Marcus head to Capitol Hill this morning to testify about  recent security breaches at their stores.  Thieves stole credit and debit card information from tens of millions of customers.

"The Secret Service is investigating the recent breaches, and we are confident we will bring these criminals responsible to justice," says William Noonan of the US Secret Service.

Congress is working on new legislation that would strengthen security protections for consumers.
But Monday, experts told Congress the problem is built into America's financial infrastructure.

"Target was at fault, Neiman was at fault.  But they're not completely at fault.  They're asked to accept cards that are inherently dangerous," says Ed Mierzwinski of U.S. Public Interest Research Groups.

Current debit and credit cards rely on decades old magnetic strips which many want to replace with what's called "chip and pin" technology.

"Chip and pin is the next technology in America.  But banks have not even proposed that we go to the chip and pin which has been in use in Europe for years," says Mierzwinski.

Those cards store your data on an encrypted micro chip that's hard to copy and users must enter a code to make a purchase.  But banks have been reluctant to make the switch because of the billions it would cost to make the transition.

Credit card companies including American Express and Visa say they have plans to introduce the more secure cards.  But retailers also have to get on board and change out card readers.

(Susan McGinnis, CBS News)

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