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Retailers Committed to Protecting Consumer Data from Attack

The National Retail Federation today sent a letter to congressional leaders outlining the retail industry’s commitment to protecting sensitive consumer data in the wake of the recent international cyber attacks and thefts.

“The National Retail Federation and our 12,000 members are committed to combating this criminal threat to our industry and our customers, and we strongly recommend the adoption of meaningful steps to fight cyber theft and credit card fraud,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

The letter reiterated the retail industry’s long-held support for replacing current credit and debit cards with cards that would store data in an embedded computer micro-chip and require the use of a PIN rather than a signature. Current cards use easy-to-hack 1960s technology.

“For years, banks have continued to issue fraud-prone magnetic stripe cards to U.S. customers, putting sensitive financial information at risk while simultaneously touting the security benefits of next-generation PIN and Chip card technology for customers in Europe and dozens of other markets,” Shay said.

NRF expressed its support for an immediate transition from magnetic-stripe cards to more-secure and advanced PIN and Chip cards to better protect consumer data from theft, hacking and skimming. PIN and Chip cards are widely used in more than 80 countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.

“The retail industry is eager to work with banks and card companies to fight cyber attacks and reduce fraud,” Shay said. “These efforts include installation of sophisticated new PIN-enabled point-of-sale-systems and readiness to adopt cards with more secure microchip technology, but the fact remains that retailers cannot do this alone.”

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

Note to media: Read NRF's letter here.

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