Target hack strips banks and credit unions of $200M. By Dara Kerr

23/02/2014 20:09

The widespread security breach reportedly compromised 40 million credit and debit cards, which are costing banks a pretty penny to reissue.

Not only were as many as 110 million Target customers affected by the massive hack on the retailer in December, but banks have also had to deal with the security breach.

The hack is said to have cost banks and credit unions more than $200 million, according to datagathered by the Consumer Bankers Association and the Credit Union National Association. Originally, the two associations estimated that losses tallied around $178 million but now say those costs are rising.

In all, 40 million credit and debit cards were compromised in the breach. So far, banks and credit unions have replaced 54.5 percent, or 21.8 million cards. The cost to banks could increase if additional fraudulent activity occurs with the compromised cards.

The security breach, which yielded the personal information of an estimated 110 million customers, was first identified on December 15. Apparently, cybercriminals accessed customers' private information at point-of-sale terminals during checkout.

Target said the breach occurred between November 27 and December 15 and resulted in the theft of names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and debit and credit card data of people who shopped at the retailer during those dates.

Working to gain consumer confidence in the aftermath of the breach, Target has offered affected customers one year of free credit monitoring and begun development of high-security smart credit cards embedded with microprocessor chips. According to a report earlier this month, the retailer is said to be paying up to $420 million to cover such costs associated with the breach.