unauthorized access. This data-security breach affects card-payment
processors and large U.S. banks that issue debit and credit cards.
Global Payments helps card companies processes electronic transactions
for merchants and determined that an unauthorized entity had accessed
its systems and possible customer card data in early March. .
Customers would not be held liable for any fraudulent charges that may
occur, banks and processors promised. Any financial losses from the
data breach would be shouldered by merchants, card issuers and Global
Payments rather than Visa or Mastercard, which operate payment
MasterCard announced earlier Friday that it was investigating whether
cardholder account data was improperly accessed. The payments company
has alerted law enforcement authorities and notified card issuers
about the potential breach of cardholders' account information.
Visa said in a statement Friday that it was "aware of a potential data
compromise incident at a third-party entity affecting card account
information from all major card brands." The company emphasized that
there had been no breach of any Visa system, "including its core
processing network VisaNet."
U.S. law enforcement authorities including the Secret Service are investigating.
Citigroup Inc has been notified by processors of the breach, while
Wells Fargo & Co said it was too early to comment on the impact. No
comment issued by Bank of America Corp. JPMorgan Chase & Co, as well
as American Express and Discover, which issue their own cards, said
they are monitoring customers' accounts and would issue new cards to
anyone whose information may have been compromised.