ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- It seems a week doesn't go by that we don't hear about some kind of credit card or data breach, but that could soon be changing.
First it was Schnucks and TJ Maxx, then Michael's and Neiman Marcus and of course the biggest of all, Target.
All of these retailers, victims of credit and debit card data breaches that affected millions of shoppers and cost banks and businesses billions of dollars.
Mark Sundt is the chief technology officer at Clearent, a Clayton-based credit card processing company that's working on deploying new, more secure ways to process electronic payments. One example is a super-secure credit card swipe-reader.
All of the information is communicated over private, secure network computer lines.
Another advance will change the look of the cards in our wallets. By late next year, most credit and debit cards will come with a special embedded chip, called an EMV chip that stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa because the technology has been used in Europe for years.
The new cards have two big advantages over the cards we currently use: unlike magnet strips that are easy to reproduce, it's virtually impossible for hackers to manufacture and embed these chips in counterfeit cards.
Also, the chip cards must remain in the credit card reader machine during the entire transaction, and sometimes for an added layer of protection, a secret personal identification number must also be entered.
Target, feeling heat from regulators and lower sales from its customers, has announced it will add new, more secure credit card readers that are able to accept EMV chip cards, trying to stay one step ahead of the hackers to prevent the next data breach.
Those new chip cards will become far more common next year.
The other big advancement, look for more secure mobile payment systems, using your smartphone instead of a debit or credit card.