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New White House efforts help secure your payments

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American banks and stores may already be planning to tighten your payment security, but the White House wants to give those efforts a boost. President Obama has signed an Executive Order that will require the federal government to both issue more secure chip-and-PIN (aka EMV) payment cards and upgrade terminals to match. This isn't just for protecting day-to-day staff expenses -- it also means that pensions, Social Security and veteran payments (all of which tend to go through official debit cards) should be safer. There should also be fewer risks when you're buying from federal locations like national parks and the passport office.

Additional moves should improve protections against identity theft, whether or not you're on the government's dime. The order will have federal investigators share more of their evidence with companies when looking into data breaches. It will also refine IdentityTheft.gov to make it easier for you to report (and ideally, recover from) fraud, while partnerships with both Citi and MasterCard will respectively give account holders free monthly credit score updates and identity theft support. There's only so much these new measures will do, especially when chip-and-PIN security won't arrive in earnest until 2015, but it's hard to object to better security.

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