Mastercard to phase out magnetic stripes on credit and debit cards by 2029

Aug. 25, 2021

In an effort to push more capable and secure alternatives to old-fashioned swipe cards, Mastercard is phasing out the magnetic stripe on its credit and debit cards over the next 10 years.

An early 1960s innovation largely credited to IBM, the magnetic stripe allowed banks to encode card information onto magnetic tape laminated to the back. It paved the way for electronic payment terminals and chip cards, offering more security and real-time authorization while making it easier for businesses of all sizes to accept cards.

That thin stripe has remained a fixture on billions of payment cards for decades, even as technology has evolved. But now the magnetic stripe is reaching its expiration date, and Mastercard is the first payments network to phase it out, the company said in a blog post published on Aug. 12

By 2029, no new Mastercard credit or debit cards will be issued with a magnetic stripe. Prepaid cards in the U.S. and Canada are currently exempt from this change.

The shift away from the magnetic stripe points to both consumers changing habits for payments and the development of newer technologies, Mastercard said. 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. Biometric cards, which combine fingerprints with chips to verify a cardholder’s identity, offer another layer of security.

Based on the decline in payments powered by magnetic stripes after chip-based payments took hold, newly issued Mastercard credit and debit cards will not be required to have a stripe starting in 2024 in most markets. By 2033, no Mastercard credit and debit cards will have magnetic stripes, which leaves a long runway for the remaining partners who still rely on the technology to phase in chip card processing.


1183997020 | aldomurillo| Getty Images and 54350985 | Vs1489 | Dreamstime
Technology Image

Emerging and rooted: technology for vending, micro markets and OCS has a lot more dexterity today

Aug. 24, 2021
Technology almost always accelerates during difficult times, so imagine what far-reaching advancements a pandemic can procreate for an industry that survives it. Contactless transaction...