Mastercard has revealed that it plans to stop issuing new debit and credit cards with a magnetic strip as the technology has become outdated.
According to the payments giant, by 2033 none of its debit or credit cards will feature a magnetic strip and banks in many regions will begin issuing strip-less cards beginning in 2024.
While the UK moved to a chip-and-pin system for all card payments all the way back in 2006, the US hasn't been as quick to catch up as some magnetic strip systems are still in use in the country.
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Another reason Mastercard will do away with magnetic strips on its cards is due to the fact that both chip-and-pin as well as new biometric cards, which will use fingerprints, offer greater security. At the same time, the magnetic strips used in debit and credit cards can wear down over time, requiring customers to ask their banks or credit card companies to issue them new cards.
A strip-less future
Although other credit card companies including Visa and American Express also use magnetic strips in their cards, Mastercard claims to be the first such company to be working on phasing out the aging technology.
In fact, magnetic strips were invented back in the 1960s as part of an IBM project to create identity cards for those working at the CIA. One of the engineers on the project, Forrest Parry had the idea of attaching information encoded on a strip of magnetic tape to a plastic card but it was his wife who devised the idea of using heat to make sure the two stuck together securely.
Contactless payments were already becoming increasingly popular before the pandemic began but they became the norm once consumers grew concerned about how the handling of credit and debit cards by cashiers and other staff could help spread the virus further.
Expect to see Visa, American Express and even banks follow suit after Mastercard's plan to issue cards without magnetic strips goes into effect in 2024.
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