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Heartland settles with MasterCard for $41.4 million

Payment processor will pay into fund to settle MasterCard card issuers' loss claims from 2008 breach.

Heartland Payment Systems Inc. agreed to pay MasterCard issuers up to $41.4 million to settle claims related to the 2008 breach of the payment processor's systems.

Under the settlement, announced Wednesday, Princeton, N.J.-based Heartland will fund up to $41.4 million of "alternative recovery offers" for eligible MasterCard issuers to settle their claims of operational costs and fraud losses due to the massive breach.

"We feel this settlement represents an appropriate and fair resolution for our issuing financial institutions customers and will enable them to avoid uncertainties and delayed associated with potentially protracted litigation," Wendy Murdock, chief franchise officer for MasterCard Worldwide, said in a prepared statement.

In January, Heartland reached a settlement with Visa Inc. to pay up to $60 million to Visa card issuers for breach related costs. In December, the company announced a settlement with American Express to pay the credit card company $3.6 million to resolve intrusion-related issues.

The settlement is contingent on MasterCard card issuing financial institutions representing at least 80% of the claimed-on MasterCard accounts accepting their offers by June 25. MasterCard said it will notify eligible card issuers with details of the settlement soon.

In March, Albert Gonzalez, 28, of Miami, was sentenced to 20 years and one day in prison for leading a series of breaches into Heartland and other companies. More than 130 million credit and debit card numbers from five companies were stolen in the hacking spree and more than 250 financial institutions were affected, prosecutors said,

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