Visa Credit Card Issuers Recoup $60 Million from Heartland Hacking Incident
Some Visa card issuers may be able to recoup losses from a major security breach by participating in a settlement program. Visa officials announced this month a $60 million settlement reached with Heartland Payment Systems over the processor's headline-making hacking attack in 2008. Criminals cracked security at some of Heartland's client retail locations, including convenience stores and restaurants, obtaining credit card details for thousands of unsuspecting consumers.

Visa's issuing banks covered the cost of issuing replacement cards and negating fraudulent charges on compromised credit card accounts. The $60 million settlement fund will help banks recover those costs, instead of passing them along to consumers in the form of higher finance charges and service fees.

Participating Visa issuers must still ratify the settlement, but officials from both Visa and Heartland expressed confidence that the settlement would be accepted. "Helping financial institutions mitigate costs after a data security breach has been a long-standing component of Visa's security strategy," said Visa spokesperson Ellen Richey.

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.