Credit/Debit Cards

NRF criticizes banking lobby for “attack” over Target data breach

national retail federationThe National Retail Federation criticized the banking lobby last week for what it said was an “attack” by the American Bankers Association over the recent Target data breach.

“The American Bankers Association has made the tactical choice to avoid talking about the merits of the court’s swipe fee settlement decision, primarily because the settlement is flawed and without merit, and instead decided to attack a retailer that was a recent victim of data theft,” the NRF said.

The ABA said in its Dec. 20 CEO Update that though banks “play a central role in securing the payments system, we depend on the system’s other participants to do their part.”

“When they don’t, we all pay,” the ABA said. “It’s why the Durbin Amendment capping debit card interchange rates is so offensive. It represents retailers’ desires to benefit from the systems our industry has built without bearing full responsibility for its costs.”

The NRF said data theft is, in many cases, “aided and abetted by the banking industry, which forces companies that accept credit and debit cards to use the fee-laden and fraud prone mag-stripes and signature cards when other technologies, such as chip and PIN, are being used successfully around the world.”

“It is not difficult to understand why the bank lobby would prefer to throw stones at the retail industry instead of talking about real changes we can undertake which will help prevent data breaches in the future,” the NRF said. “Pointing fingers and blaming others for their industry shortcomings over the last several years has become a standard response, but it doesn’t make it any less tiresome.”

On Dec. 19, Target announced that approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts used at the retailer between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have been compromised in the data breach.

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