Lawmakers want secure payments sooner

Senators are pushing credit card companies to accelerate efforts to make payment methods more secure.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on data breaches Tuesday, senators questioned the efforts of MasterCard and Visa to incorporate chip technology into their credit cards.

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MasterCard and Visa plan for these “chip card” systems to be widespread by October 2015, Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenOvernight Tech: Senate panel subpoenaed ex-Yahoo chief | Twitter gives all users 280 characters | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | EU wants tax answers from Apple Week ahead: DHS nominee heads before Senate | Ex-Yahoo chief to testify on hack | Senators dig into election security Feinstein: Sessions should re-testify on Russia meetings MORE (D-Minn.) said. “I wish that could be hurried.”

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenators discuss 'me too' campaign on sexual harassment Dem senator: Trump's feuding with McCain shows how 'egocentric' he is Dem rep: Trump's DACA demands 'lack basic humanity' MORE (D-Hawaii) asked witnesses whether Congress should write legislation to encourage MasterCard and Visa to implement this newer, more secure technology more quickly.

The hearing comes after weeks of news reports about major U.S. companies — including retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus and hotel chains — have suffered data breaches, impacting the data of U.S. consumers. More secure payment technology would protect consumers in these instances, lawmakers said.

Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel at Consumers Union, encouraged lawmakers to consider putting that kind of pressure on the credit card companies.

Target Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan — who testified at the hearing — said that the company is accelerating its efforts to equip store credit cards with this chip technology. 

“It is technologies like that that we think are important, and we are committed to accelerating our efforts,” he said.