Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) is adopting an unusual step of offering a 10% discount to all customers following massive data breach left 40 million shoppers vulnerable to thieves.

Target Corporation

The specialty retailer also announced it would offer free credit monitoring to customers who could be at risk from the breach.

Target’s 40 million accounts compromised

Last week, in what could be the second largest credit and debit card breach, Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) acknowledged that security of nearly 40 million credit and debit accounts of its customers were compromised. However, the company didn’t disclose how the lapse occurred. It assured it was taking help of federal law enforcement and external experts to tighten the security to avoid similar frauds, going forward.

The retailer disclosed that the hacking took place during the ongoing holiday season – from a day before Thanksgiving up to Dec 15. A source familiar with the investigation authorities claimed that the company was alerted by credit card processors who detected an increase in dubious transactions pertaining to cards used at Target stores.

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT)’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel in his message last Friday said that the issue of unauthorized access to payment card data at their U.S. stores ‘has been identified and eliminated’ and not all customers who shopped between Black Friday and last week are victims of fraud.

Second largest in U.S. history

In 2007, the biggest security breach in U.S. history was detected when The TJX Companies, Inc – a leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions – reported data theft involving nearly 90 million credit and debit cards over a span of about one and a half years. In 2009, TJX Companies agreed to shell out $9.75 million in settlement with several states.

Since then companies like Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) have strengthened their security by deploying substantial cash.

Target’s CEO said last Friday the company would be working out the details of the free credit monitoring soon and would be in touch with those impacted by this issue on how and where to access the service.

In a fine print message at its website, Target indicated that certain transactions would be excluded from the 10% discount. For instance, the 10% discount excludes prepaid cards, purchase of liquor, Apple or Bose products, and all video games.

Interestingly, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) said Saturday that it notified customers who used debit cards at Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) stores during the recent security breach that they could use their cards for no more than $100 in cash withdrawals and $300 in total purchases per day.