The United States is lagging behind most of the world when it comes to credit card technology, but luckily it's about to catch up. In the next 18 months, the US is gearing up to transition debit and credit cards away from the magnetic stripe to embedded chip technology, which is already widely used in Europe, Asia and beyond. Who can you thank for the long-overdue upgrade? Target, whose data security breach earlier this year highlighted the security flaws in the magnetic stripe system. It's a 50-year-old technology, after all, and it's much easier to counterfeit than the computer chip in your next Visa card.