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Your Card Data Is Safer at Banks Than Retailers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Credit card fraud is a menace to consumers, with 7.5 million cases and losses of approximately $8 billion recorded in 2012, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.

Looking at who does best in protecting card consumers in key industries, Javelin found wide disparity, with retailers at the bottom of the heap and banks at the top.

"Retailers, common targets for data breach crimes, scored lowest in prevention and among the lowest overall," says Al Pascal, a senior analyst at Javelin. "The three retailer issuers reviewed placed lowest in prevention -- Cabela's (29%), Target (22%) and Nordstrom (18%) -- indicating inattention to factors that could help to lower these issuers' overall incidence of cardā€associated fraud."

Target, of course, suffered a data breach in December that resulted in 70 million customer credit accounts being compromised, including the theft of email addresses and phone numbers. Accounts have also been breached recently at Neiman Marcus.

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Banks have escaped those bad headlines, Javelin says, noting that larger banks scored higher in consumer credit card protection effectiveness.

Javelin says its top-of-the-line finishers do better in educating their customers about credit card fraud and in establishing card user identification measures.

Bank of America earned top marks as "best in class" in the Javelin study, while USAA was top of the list for actual fraud protection.

When dealing with the aftermath of card fraud events, it was Associated Bank and Sun Trust that fared best in the Javelin ranking, mainly due to their 24/7 account suspension practice and zero-liability policies for fraudulent account activity.

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