President Barack Obama announces details of a new executive order designed to make federal payments safer following recent massive data breaches. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Friday (October 17) to make federal payments safer, urging banks and retailers to follow suit after massive data breaches put millions of consumers at risk. In remarks to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Obama announced steps such as microchips and PIN numbers for government credit cards, and enhancing the safety of payment card terminals at federal agencies. "Now we've all experienced the benefits of new technologies that let us buy and sell stuff faster and more efficient than ever, but there are risks that come with these technologies as well," Obama said, "and that's today we are launching an initiative called Buy Secure because you should be able to buy the things you need without risking your identity, your credit or your savings." In a statement, the president called on all stakeholders "to safeguard consumer finances and reduce their chances of becoming victims of identity theft - America's fastest-growing crime." Home Depot Inc, Target Corp, Walgreen Co and Wal-Mart Stores Inc will be rolling out secure chip and PIN-compatible card terminals in all their stores, most by January, the White House said. President Obama cited experience in Britain, where officials had reported a 70 percent drop in fraud in stores. He's also directing federal law enforcement groups to work more with the private sector in revealing identity theft rings. Bank and retail industry groups have been at odds over how to improve the security of electronic payments for years, but massive data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus Group have made the dispute more prominent. Banks have wanted retailers to bear more of the costs of replacing cards after breaches occur, while retailers said banks had been slow to adopt new technologies. But both sides welcomed the news of Obama's executive order. "We look forward to working with the White House, Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security to share our best practices and new technologies that will aid in the fight against fraud," the American Bankers Association said in a statement. The National Retail Federation also said it supported the measures to stop cyber thieves. Obama has signed a series of other executive orders, such as on minimum wages and carbon emissions, which, while generally limited in scope, have been designed to either jumpstart more action or pressure Congress to act.