December 24, 2013

JPMorgan boosts debit-card spending limits after data breach at Target

Most affected account holders can now withdraw $300 in cash and make purchases of up to $1,000.

By Hugh Son
Bloomberg News

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank, increased spending and withdrawal limits it imposed on 2 million customers who used debit cards at Target during the retailer’s data breach.

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The Associated Press

Cash withdrawals of as much as $250 per day and purchases of $1,000 are allowed for most affected account holders, the New York-based bank said on its website. Previous limits of $100 in cash and $300 in purchases were set after Target said last week that 40 million customers may have had data stolen.

JPMorgan, the third-biggest U.S. debit-card issuer by purchases, after Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., is alone among the largest U.S. banks in announcing usage limits. Precautions to prevent fraud-related losses may have frustrated bank customers facing spending caps during the holiday shopping and travel season, said Bert Ely, an independent banking consultant in Alexandria, Virginia.

“This is a huge inconvenience for its customers, and JPMorgan may feel a competitive pressure to back off,” Ely said. “It comes at a terrible time, Christmas shopping season, and I’m sure they’ve had push-back from customers.”

Clients whose account data were compromised still won’t be able to use debit cards at automated teller machines outside the U.S., a restriction imposed after the breach, JPMorgan said. Customers can withdraw money without limits at U.S. branches, about one-third of which were open Monday, the lender said.

“We had customers with cards at risk who were inconvenienced ahead of the holidays,” the bank said on its website. “We apologize for any problems you had related to lower limits on your card.”

Bank of America is the biggest U.S. debit-card issuer, according to the Nilson Report, an industry newsletter. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender said on its website that it’s monitoring customer accounts after the breach at Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Target. There was no mention of spending or withdrawal limits.

Wells Fargo, the No. 2 debit-card issuer, will take action if it finds that a card is at risk, said Kris Dahl, a spokesman for the San Francisco-based bank.

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