The Target Data Hack Cost Banks More Than $200 Million

Flickr user dcmetroblogger

New estimates pin the cost of last year’s robbery higher than previously thought.

The gargantuan theft of data from credit and debit cards used at Target stores during last year's holiday shopping season is now believed to have cost financial institutions more than $200 million, according to self-reported estimates released Tuesday.

The new numbers are an uptick from earlier calculations. The Consumer Bankers Association revised its estimate of the cost of card replacements for its members, raising it from $153 million to $172 million. The Credit Union National Association has updated its calculations of damages incurred by credit unions to $30.6 million, up from $25 million.

Taken together, the costs now surpass $200 million, although that tally does not reflect the costs to financial institutions that are not credit unions or operate outside the Consumer Bankers Association.

The nationwide heist of financial data from Target stores took place from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15 and is believed to have affected 110 million customers. The robbery, which now appears to have been made possible due to an email phishing scheme deployed on a heating and air-conditioning contractor, included names, mailing addresses, encrypted personal identification numbers, and phone numbers.

Congress is eyeing new approaches to data security in the wake of the breaches at Target and other national retail chains. Banks have been pushing retailers to implement better consumer-data protections at their stores.

(Image via Flickr user dcmetroblogger)