When Customer Service Collides With Data Security

The banking world is learning its lessons from massive credit card recalls, as necessitated by data breaches such as those recently suffered by TJX. It's a good thing, too, as such huge breaches are likely to become much more commonplace.

Courtesy of The Detroit Free Press comes this tale of Comerica Bank's reissuing headache and how customer service painfully collided with credit card security. Despite the breach having been announced in mid-January--and known to credit card players a short time before that--some customers are only now getting recall notices.

Why the delay? Comerica Bank needed to stagger the reissuing campaign "to ensure proper customer service," said bank spokeswoman Kathy Pitton. "We wanted to make sure it was a manageable number so that our customer service people could handle calls."

Given the security need to get cards with stolen numbers out of commission as quickly as possible, that's a tricky compromise.