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Spanish payment breach prompts huge German card recall

Holidaymakers at risk of fraud

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German authorities have recalled more than 100,000 credit cards over fears that crooks may have obtained details of the cards via an unnamed Spanish payment processing firm.

Holidaymakers who used their Visa or Mastercard credit card in Spain may be at risk of fraud following the reported security breach, which prompted the largest plastic card recall in German history. The Volks and Raiffeisenbank banking group alone recalled 60,000 potentially compromised credit cards as a precautionary measure, AFP reports.

Holders of cards issued by DKB-Bank, Barclays and Karstadt-Quelle are among those at risk, El Pais adds.

In a statement, the German Central Credit Card Commission (ZKA) described the measures as precautionary, adding that affected cardholders would be notified by their banks and not left out of pocket in the event of any fraud. Cardholders are nonetheless advised to check their statements for suspicious transactions.

ZKA's statement (translated below) goes on to explain that the exchange of cards is almost complete.

The German banking industry has responded rapidly to the warning of Visa and MasterCard regarding a possible theft at a Spanish company to credit card data from German customers. The potentially compromised cards will be exchanged free of charge reported by German banks and savings banks. This exchange is almost complete. It is primarily a precautionary measure and a routine operation.

Both Visa and Mastercard maintain their systems have not been compromised, pointing to problems elsewhere in the payment chain. UK customers will be contacted directly if their details have been exposed.

Spanish reports in El Pais (here) and El Mundo (here) suggest that the breach affects a payment processor in Spain that handled card payments for cards issued outside of the country but this remains unclear.

Visa Europe told the BBC that it is "aware of a possible card data security issue in Spain. No details are yet confirmed, but we do not believe that the issue is specific to Visa." ®

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