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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

P-cards cancelled after credit data stolen from Hannaford

Published: March 28, 2008
Section: Front Page

images.jpegBrandeis student organizations in possession of P-cards are currently dealing with the cancellation of all current P-cards.

This comes in the wake of the hack into Hannaford supermarkets’ security systems, in which hackers obtained credit card information from cards used in New England and New York.

The P-card is a credit card issued by the Student Union to a select number of clubs and organizations.

P-card holding clubs include all secured organizations, as well as a select number of other clubs and organizations including the Brandeis Orthodox Organization and Student Sexuality Information Services.

This system of financing was instituted at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year.

“The majority of Hannaford stores in New England and New York were affected by this incident,” explained Student Union Treasurer Choon Woo Ha. “All the visa credit card companies informed the banks,” which then informed the holders of those cards, Ha said.

Ha said that only “some of the P-cards, including those of clubs on campus,” have been affected. Not all cards were affected because “not all of the cards were used at Hannaford.”

Club leaders who were in possession of P-cards that had been used at Hannaford had to call JP Morgan Chase, the bank through which P-cards are provided, cancel their current cards, and request new ones, Ha said.

However, Katie Schlussel, ’10, President of the Brandeis Orthodox Organization, said it was unnecessary for her to call the bank. “I was actually informed about it first by the [credit card] company itself,” she said.

“Choon sent out an e-mail…explaining [the situation] to club leaders,” she said, but by that time the bank had “called to let me know [about the hack] and to tell me they were sending me a new card.”

Ha maintained that there has been a minimum of difficulties while clubs have temporarily been without P-cards.

“We really solved problems very quickly,” he said. “We always had a backup plan in place in case something happened. If we didn’t have that, I think there would have been some huge inconveniences for club leaders.”

According to Ha, club leaders have been “using the official Student Union debit card” to fund their purchases while they are without their own cards.

However, according to Schlussel, replacement P-cards for clubs arrived on campus very quickly. “Within two days, my [new] card had already come” she said.

“The P-card is a luxury, and it’s really great that we have it,” said Schlussel. “It was too bad,” to be without it for a while, “but it wasn’t a problem.”