Following a recent security breach at the worldwide payment processor Global Payment Inc., credit card numbers for up to 1.5 million Visa and MasterCard account holders are believed to have been compromised.

This has forced credit card issuers to cancel the affected cards and reissue new ones for any of their customers who may have been affected by the breach.

MasterCard and Visa are both working to help consumers understand that they are not to be held liable for any charges made fraudulently on their accounts. However, knowing they have no responsibility does not mean that there is nothing to worry about when these sort of security breaches occur.

When a card number is compromised, consumers need to be aware of the three main issues that may affect them. The first is that responsible or not, it can be a real pain in the neck for the consumer. A security breach often results in the account being restricted, often before the consumer even knows about the issue.

This can mean numerous phone calls, waiting on hold for long periods and being transferred to and from various departments as they try to discover the root of the restriction. Often when something like this happens, your card issuer will block online access to your account making it difficult to access certain features until a new card has been issued. If you use your card for any automatic subscriptions or recurring bills then you also have the additional inconvenience of having to change account numbers and payment methods with your service providers.

When news of the Global Payments Inc. security breach first began to emerge, it was alleged that two separate types of account information had been compromised. The first was ‘Track 1″ information which contains personal details and the other was “Track 2” which has credit card numbers only.

It has since become apparent that in reality only the card numbers were stolen and not the personal information. However, the fact remains that cardholders have no idea who accessed this information or what they intend to do with it. It could be that the intention was to use the credit cards to steal money, but it is equally likely that identity theft was the end goal. When it comes to potential identity theft consumers must be even more vigilante.

When asked for input on the recent security breach at Global Payments Inc., Barrett Burns, the president of VantageScore said,

In the event of a security breach such as this, to protect their credit profile, consumers should immediately contact both the lenders and the credit reporting companies (CRCs) to be sure that there have not been any fraudulent transactions reported. Consumers should take detailed notes regarding when they contacted the lender and CRCs, what was discussed and with whom. It is important to be sure there aren’t any fraudulent credit inquiries and credit applications reported as well. In the event that either of these actions did occur, both lenders and the CRCs have processes in place that will remove any negative information that has been reported as a result of the fraud. Credit card fraud victims should also take steps to be sure another account will be issued so that their credit history is preserved.

The key thing for consumers to keep in mind is that they can never be held responsible for fraudulent transactions. MasterCard and Visa both have iron clad “zero liability protection” policies that go even beyond what is required by federal law. However, even if those policies were not in place consumers are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act.