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RIP to a real one: The magnetic stripe on your Mastercard will be gone in a decade’s time

The company is phasing them out starting in 2024.

a credit card with emv chip and contactless, but without a magnetic stripe
Image: Mastercard

You might want to get used to using the chip in your credit cards because Mastercard is going to phase out the magnetic stripes on its credit and debit cards. The industry is already moving towards safer and more convenient alternatives like contactless or chip and pin, so this change shouldn’t really surprise anyone.

The payment network will be the first to phase out the magnetic tech, which hasn’t changed since its introduction in the 1960s. Expect the rest of the payment network providers, like Visa or Discover, to make their own announcements soon. It’s way past time for the insecure mag stripe.

Mastercard will start the transition in 2024, first with regions like Europe where chip cards are already the norm. The US will start its transition in 2027, giving people a few more years to get used to the chip method. No Mastercard debit or credit card will come with a magnetic stripe from 2029, and they’ll all be gone by 2033.

READ MORE: Mastercard launches program that lets you pay with a smile or wave

Yes, magnetic stripes were an improvement over the old flatbed imprinting machines that used to take a carbon copy of the raised sections of your credit card. They should have been phased out in the 1990s when the global EMV standard enabled details to be held on those tiny embedded chips, but banks (primarily in the US) dragged their feet.

I spent some time in Malaysia about a decade ago, with one credit card that would work outside of the USA, which only had a magnetic stripe. Trying to explain to shopkeepers that it needed to be swiped, when they were all used to using a chip and pin was a mix of frustration and amusement.

It’s about time for the magnetic stripe to go away, so more secure methods can take over.

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