Heartland, MasterCard settle over data breach

Heartland Payment Systems has made a third settlement deal, this time with MasterCard, related to a massive data breach two years ago at the card payments processor.

As part of the deal, Heartland has agreed to pay as much as $41.1 million to MasterCard issuers that lost money as a result of the data breach.

The deal is contingent on financial institutions representing 80% of the affected MasterCard accounts accepting the offer by June 25. MasterCard is recommending that issuers accept the offer.

Heartland has already agreed to settlements with Visa, worth $60 million, and with American Express, for $3.6 million.

Heartland was one of several companies that hackers broke into in 2008, stealing data about payment transactions that the company processed for its merchant clients. Some of those merchant customers sued Heartland to recover costs associated with reissuing cards for affected consumers.

In March, Albert Gonzalez, a hacker involved in the theft of data from Heartland, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the operation.

The Department of Justice has said that the breach, which included Heartland and other victims, is one of the largest ever investigated and prosecuted in the U.S. It involved the theft of millions of credit card numbers.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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