All Those Credit Card Breaches May Affect Holiday Shopping

It seems the credit card data breaches that have plagued the US over the past year will impact how Americans shop this holiday season.  A new survey suggests nearly half of debit and credit card users will avoid one of their regular stores from Black Friday onward if that store was impacted by one of the data breaches.

The data breaches made national headlines in December when Target confirmed that many of its stores were hacked by cyber criminals.  The breach exposed information on up to 70 million credit card accounts, leaving millions of Americans worried about the security of their cards.

But Target was the first victim in a long line of companies targeted by hackers.  By the end of September breaches had occurred at hotel chains, restaurants, and even Home Depot – the latter breach rivaling the magnitude of the exposure at Target last fall.

Companies affected by the breaches worried about the long term implications for their businesses.  The latest survey suggests those concerns are valid as one out of six respondents stated they would not shop at a store that was previously exposed to a breach.  And nearly a third of respondents said they “probably” would avoid stores that were attacked by hackers.

But based on the responses, people with lower incomes are more worried about the breaches for this shopping season.  Over half of respondents with annual incomes at or below $30,000 per year say they will not shop at a store affected by a data breach, whereas only 30 percent of people with incomes over $75,000 are concerned about security at affected stores.

However, the breaches could even impact the number of credit cards used this holiday season.  Only one out of eight respondents say they are more likely to use a credit card over cash this season, and many respondents say they will use cash more frequently this year.