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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Partnerships fuel portfolio growth


Industry Update

Direct Air's bankruptcy threatens JetPay

Coalition responds to retailers' debit rule complaint

Consultancy faults PCI tokenization guidance

Heartland breach suit settled

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Expo meets expectations in atmosphere of change

Prepaid goes to Washington


Choosing a partner for life

Justin Milmeister
Elite Merchant Solutions

Technology, a catalyst for ISO growth

Mustafa Shehabi
PayCube Inc.


Street SmartsSM:
Plotting a prosperous future

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

Is it time for you to resell integrated payment systems?

Paul Hunter
Sterling Payment Technologies

As a PCI compliance role model, how do you measure up?

Heather Foster

Use new card fees to build merchant rapport

Jeffrey Shavitz and Adam Moss
Charge Card Systems Inc.

Working with outside marketing experts

Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing

No more contract-signing hurdle

Steve Norell
US Merchant Services Inc.

Company Profile

Electronic Payment Exchange

New Products

Wireless payments at the restaurant table

Company: Viableware

Driving donations online for nonprofits

eSelectPlus with DonorDrive
Company: Moneris Solutions


Don't let hot leads slip away


Fulfilling brand promise



Resource Guide


A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 09, 2012  •  Issue 12:04:01

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Heartland breach suit settled

On March 20, 2012, a judge in the Southern District of Texas approved a settlement agreement in the consumer complaint brought against Heartland Payment Systems Inc. The settlement gives almost nothing to consumers and leaves three nonprofit organizations and plaintiffs' attorneys to divide settlement funds.

The complaint and settlement are the fallout from hackers that broke into Heartland's computers and stole at least 130 million debit and credit card numbers. The breach, which was reported in January 2009, was one of the largest data breaches in history. An American, Albert Gonzalez, was convicted of participating in the breach and is serving a 20-year prison term as a result. Two East European hackers who are alleged to have participated in the breach have not been prosecuted.

Small payout to class members

Despite the enormous amount of data stolen and repeated attempts to notify potential members of the class that they had the opportunity to participate in the claim, fewer than 300 people claimed damages in this lawsuit. Of those 300 claims, only 11 were deemed valid. As a result Heartland, which had a settlement reserve of $1 million, paid only $1,925 of the reserve to class members.

The settlement agreement called for any unpaid balance left in the settlement reserve to go to three nonprofit organizations working to protect consumer privacy: the Smart Card Alliance, the Secure POS Vendor Alliance and the Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center.

Discounted award to nonprofits

Federal District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal, who presided over the settlement, discounted the award to the nonprofits by 50 percent, that is, to $499,037.55. "Although the ... award will assist the three organizations in working on improved payment-card security, whether, when, and how much improvement will result are all speculative," the judge wrote in his memorandum and order. "Although the ... award is appropriate, the indirect, speculative, and deferred nature of the benefit strongly support valuing that benefit at one-half of the payment amount."

Attorneys were awarded $606,192.50; costs awarded were $35,000. The court valued the total settlement (including administrative costs and attorneys' fees) at just over $3 million.

Regarding the settlement, Heartland said it is "glad to put this behind us and that a major portion of the settlement will go to various third-party organizations committed to enhancing card security for consumers and merchants."

For additional news stories, please visit and click on "Read the Entire Story" in the center column below the latest news story excerpt. This will take you to the full text of that story, followed by all other news stories posted online.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | Simpay | USAePay | Impact Paysystems | Board Studios