JP Morgan replaces 2 million payment cards

The largest US lender, JPMorgan Chase & Co, said it replaced 2 million payment cards following the breach of consumer data at retailers including Target Corp.

Chief executive officer Jamie Dimon said today on a conference call discussing fourth-quarter results at the New York-based bank, that the threat to cardholder information was a big deal and it was not going to go away.

Target, the second-largest US discount chain, last year said credit-and debit-card data pertaining to 40 million accounts had been compromised. The retailer said on 10 January that the recent security breach affected more people and more information than previously thought.

Dimon, 57, added the story was not over unfortunately. He said, one really had to put in extreme effort to protect oneself.

According to Dimon, stores and banks needed to cooperate to prevent information from being breached rather than casting blame.

He added this might be a chance for retailers and bands to, for once, work together as opposed to sue each other like what they had been doing in the last decade. All had a common interest in being protected.

Meanwhile Putnam Bank, in a suit against Target, claims that the security breakdown cost the lender money because it forced the bank to issue customer alerts and new cards, while reimbursing account holders for losses.

Last week, Target disclosed that hackers stole an additional trove of data affecting 70 million people, including names and phone numbers as also email and mailing addresses. According to the company, there was some overlap between the two data sets.

This comes as the second-largest theft of shoppers' credit card data, following the theft of 90 million customers' data from discount retailer TJX in 2007.

According to Dimon, the bank had not seen a reduction in consumer spending due to the breach, and there were no signs that consumers moved to other forms of payment, like cash or checks. The breach was not expected to affect JPMorgan's financial results, according to a company spokeswoman.

Dimon, who had made no public comment on Target's breach until yesterday, said he expected that banks would issue cards with more security features on them in the future.

Banks and the stores that accept their credit and debit cards had had a complicated relationship for years, with stores wanting to accept credit and debit cards as it was often a customer's preferred form of payment.