Credit card profits more than doubled for Target Corp. in its fiscal second quarter, helping to boost its overall earnings.

The Minneapolis retailer said that lower risk in its card business helped the unit's performance in the quarter, which ended July 31.

The division "enjoyed very strong results, as disciplined underwriting, superb execution and improving risk trends caused a sharp reduction in bad-debt expense compared with last year," Gregg Steinhafel, Target's chairman, president and chief executive, said in a press release Wednesday. "Regardless of the pace of recovery, we are well positioned to continue to gain profitable market share."

Target has been encouraging customers to use its private-label cards over its cobranded Visa cards, which make up most of its portfolio.

In June, Target announced that it would revamp its rewards program for the private-label cards to increase card use. It said in April that it would no longer offer the cobranded Visa cards.

Profit for the card business jumped 137% year over year, to $149 million. The unit's bad-debt expense fell 54.5%, to $138 million.

Target's net income rose 14% year over year, to $679 million, and its revenue rose 3%, to $15.5 billion.

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