Boston Fed: Target Breach Triggered No Change in Debit Card Use

Following the Target data breach of 40 million credit and debit card accounts in late 2013, there was little to no change in the use of credit and debit cards, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. However, the breach coincided with a big hit in perceptions of card safety.

After the Target breach, 23 percent of consumers said their personal information would be “secure” or “very secure” while using a debit card — down from 37 percent before. For credit cards, the percentage fell from 35 percent to 24 percent. Debit cards fell 11.3 percent compared to other payment choices in terms of how secure consumers considered them, while credit cards fell by 4.2 percent.

At the same time, consumers did not change their payment behaviors, as surveys conducted in 2014 showed no statistically significant variations in how consumers reported paying. The date of the breach — which was disclosed in December of 2013 — provided a good opportunity to evaluate perceptions and behaviors in 2013 and 2014 surveys, the researchers said.