WASHINGTON – The White House is slated to unveil a major package of initiatives on Friday to increase data security for financial transactions, including an executive order to add chip-and-PIN technology to government-issued credit and debit cards.

The new measures follow a series of high-profile breaches at retailers and banks over the past year, raising questions about the safety of consumer financial data. 

The effort will help “the government to lead by example in securing transactions and sensitive data,” according to a fact sheet issued by the White House. 

The executive order will also require card terminals at federal agency facilities to accept EMV technology and provide additional government assistance for victims of identity theft.

There’s been some debate among banks and retailers about whether replacing the magnetic stripe on the back of most cards with chip and PIN technology used in Europe and elsewhere globally would have stopped some of the major breaches at retailers like Target. But the fight on Capitol Hill and within the industry has centered on making consumer cards more secure, regardless.

During remarks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this afternoon, President Obama will reiterate his call for a bill clarifying when consumers will be notified about data breaches affecting them, along with legislation allowing for greater information sharing across industry and government around cybersecurity threats.

Obama will also highlight the work of several companies taking steps to improve their data security.

A handful of retailers, including Home Depot and Target – two major retailers that have reported recent security breaches – along with Walgreens and Wal-Mart, will be rolling out EMV-compatible card terminals over the next several months. Citigroup, meanwhile, has partnered with FICO to offer free monthly credit score updates to card-carrying customers. And MasterCard will begin offering free identify theft support before the end of the year.

Later this year, the White House plans to hold a summit with businesses to “share best practices, promote adherence to stronger security standards, and discuss next generation technologies,” according to the fact sheet.

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