Target resumes pushing its REDcard to shoppers

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"Would you like to save 5 percent today with a Target REDcard?"

Target shoppers are accustomed to having the cashier solicit them as they unload their carts and prepare to pay for their light bulbs, pet food and an irresistible little clutch. The Business Journal reported that while those solicitations abruptly stopped in the wake of the retailer's massive data breach, cashiers have resumed making the pitch at the check-out station.

"In the days following our public notification of the data breach, out of sensitivity to our guests, we did stop the register prompts related to REDcards," Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said. "We have recently turned those prompts back on."

Since the breach, which exposed personal and financial data of as many as 110 million customers, Target cashiers were advised to only mention the card if a customer asked. But the story says that promoting the card represents "a delicate balance for Target. Pushing the REDcards could stir up shopper concerns or frustrations about the breach, but at the same time, the program is a major driver of store traffic and sales."

Nearly 20 percent of Target's third-quarter sales came from shoppers using a REDcard. Research confirms that cardholders visit Target more often, and spend more than other customers. Target launched its REDcard Rewards loyalty program, which provides a 5 percent discount, three years ago. The card got a favorable review on the About.com Credit/Debt Management section.

Reports of fraud on credit and debit cards used by Target shoppers have not been linked to use of REDcards.

The New York Times reports that more American shoppers are pledging to use cash only in an effort to thwart the data thieves. The newspaper reports that consumers have become unsettled by the growing number of disclosures about credit and debit card breaches.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that a hotel company that maintains some Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton and Westin franchises is the latest American business to apparently suffer a data breach; it exposed guests' credit and debit card information. White Lodging, based in Merrillville, Indiana, issued a statement Sunday night that said, in part: "An investigation is in progress, and we will provide meaningful information as soon as it becomes available."

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