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Cost of Target data breach still rising

In a press release from January 28th, the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) estimates around 40 million customer credit and debit cards were compromised. In an effort to contain the problem, CBA member banks are proactively replacing 15.3 million cards.

The cost of this is no small matter. According to the CBA, the cost of replacing one physical credit or debit card including the card itself, informing customers of the reissuement, shipping and activation, and call center support averages $10. With a total of 15.4 million cards replaced, CBA member banks have spent over $153 million responding to the data breach. These numbers do not include any fraudulent activity on customers’ cards.

In addition, newly issued cards with new card numbers might cause problems with recurring billing agreements and disrupt accounts receivables for unrelated businesses. Users who are issued new cards must change any recurring or automated payments manually. This will no doubt cause annoyance amongst consumers who miss to update their information somewhere, and can potentially create large disruptions amongst businesses that has nothing to do with Target.

Target customers have a zero liability for any fraudulent charges stemming from the data theft, but Target is now the focal point of numerous lawsuits, including a class action lawsuit from the Community Bank of Texas and First National Bank of Texas. According to the Star Tribune, Target has at least $100 million of cyber insurance, but if they have to pay for all these replacements, that will not be enough.

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