Jamaica’s largest bank by assets, National Commercial Bank (NCB), has decided to replace customer Visa and MasterCards in order to prevent possible fraud following a breach at a third-party processing centre.

The security breach has sparked concerns of fraud after it affected the third-party processing of select CIBC FirstCaribbean Bank cardholders in February, according to NCB officials.

In that case, CIBC FirstCaribbean alerted customers that client records had been accessed by outsiders, which resulted in the bank advising cardholders to monitor card activity, as well as issuing new cards to high-risk cardholders.

Now, NCB has taken similar measures: "A general advisory was received from Visa and MasterCard notifying a compromise of card data which took place at a processing centre within the LAC region (outside of Jamaica). This compromise posed a potential risk/impact for many banks within this region," said the NCB communications office.

"As a precautionary measure to protect our customers and the integrity of our cards payment system, we therefore made the decision to replace all cards impacted (Visa and MasterCard)."

The number of affected cardholders is unknown, but NCB said customers with an impacted card will not be charged for new cards.

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The bank also stated that the precise origin or scope of the breach remains unknown, but that "it is being managed by Visa, MasterCard and our customer service department".

Visa said it would not comment on what it called "compromise incidents".

"Visa works with the breached entity and their financial institution to provide card issuers with the compromised accounts so the issuers can take steps to protect consumers through independent fraud monitoring and, if needed, reissuing cards," said the corporate relations rep for Visa Latin America and Caribbean office, Militza Gonzalez.

MasterCard has not yet commented on the breach.

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