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April 14, 2005

HSBC warns of credit card security breach

HSBC is facing the prospect of having to replace around 180,000 credit cards in the US after discovering a possible security breach involving the General Motors-branded MasterCard.

By CBR Staff Writer

The London-based banking giant said that customers who used their MasterCard credit cards to make purchases at a retail outlet may have had their details compromised. The incidents, which occurred between June 2002 and December 2004, are believed to have been caused by the retailer’s point-of-sale software system as opposed to any issue with the General Motors MasterCard.

According to reports, the technology used to handle the credit card transactions at the retail stores retained the data involved instead of purging it. The system is supposed to send the relevant information to the appropriate banking institution before deleting its records.

HSBC began notifying customers of the breach last week. The company manages around six million GM-MasterCard branded cards in circulation. Card holders are expected to be offered a new card at no cost.

Althought the extent of any potential fraud is still unclear, this latest scare has added to the growing concern over credit card fraud and the security of personal information.

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