Target looks to support Apple Pay once POS system upgrades complete
Target CEO Brian Cornell on Wednesday said his company wants to integrate Apple Pay across its retail chain, but must first install point-of-sale technology with chip and PIN or chip and signature technology to conform to the latest security standards.
Cornell revealed Target's plans during an interview at Re/code's Code Conference, saying the company's primary goal is to roll out secure POS terminals.
"I'd love to have Apple Pay today," he said, adding that Target will be "open-minded" about other payment platforms once the POS systems are operational. Cornell told attendees that he already informed Apple CEO Tim Cook of Target's intentions.
Target was hit with a massive security breach in December 2013 that saw the theft of credit card data belonging to tens of millions of customers. The new chip and PIN, or in some cases chip and signature, terminals are part of a broader initiative to clamp down on digital security. Cornell said changing over Target's existing POS system is a big undertaking, so he is keeping teams focused on the task at hand rather than attempt a simultaneous Apple Pay rollout.
"Our focus is on getting chip-and-PIN in place in time for the holidays," Cornell said. "Down the line we want to accept all the types of payments that our guests want."
Apple Pay first launched in October 2014 with an in-store payments function reliant on iPhone 6 near-field communications functionality. Unlike other mobile solutions, Apple's service features tokenized transactions in which credit card information is replaced by unique digital identifiers generated on a per-transaction basis.
Tokenized transactions are thought to be more secure than barcode readers and other traditional data transfer methods, but the system requires compatible POS machines to work. So far, Apple Pay has made slow but steady progress toward wide adoption, most recently gaining support from grocer Trader Joe's and clothing retailer Express.