Mastercard Phases Out Magnetic Stripes, Pushing Chips and Biometrics in U.S. Market

For much of the world, the magnetic stripe on major branded credit cards are already a relic of the past. One of the few holdouts is the U.S., where major card issuers such as Visa and Mastercard continue to offer credit cards powered by magnetic stripes. While these stripes represented a considerable advancement in payments technology in the 1960s, they have quickly been outpaced in security and speed by chip-and-pin cards and other technological innovations.

All of that is about to change, if Mastercard has anything to say about it. According to announcements by the company, new cards will no longer be required to have a stripe as of 2024 and these stripes will no longer be available after 2033. Mastercard positions the change as progress towards more convenient payment technologies for consumers everywhere.

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“The shift away from the magnetic stripe points to both consumers changing habits for payments and the development of newer technologies,” wrote Vicki Hyman in an article for Mastercard on the shift away from the stripe. Citing advances such as biometric cards, she explained that “today’s chip cards are powered by microprocessors that are much more capable and secure, and many are also embedded with tiny antennae that enable contactless transactions.”