Breach at Global Payments affected 1.5 million cards at Visa and MasterCard

Debit and credit card processor Global Payments Inc said late last month 1.5 million card numbers were compromised in a data breach from its registry of providers that meet data security standards.

Atlanta-based Global Payments said the breach involved the ''export'' of ''Track 2'' data related to about 1.5 million North American Visa and MasterCard-branded cards.

Although Global Payments has not revealed details on the breach, it said that names addresses and social security numbers of cardholders were not compromised.

It said it had notified "appropriate industry parties to allow them to minimise potential cardholder impact."

According to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Visa, which has dropped Global Payments after the breach, told banks that the cards were exposed between 21 January and 25 February.

"Visa has recently been notified by a third-party processor that they have detected a security breach within their payment-processing network," Visa said in a memo to the banks.