September 24, 2021

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MasterCard will do mothballs technology from 2024

The withdrawal was yesterday. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

Just swipe your credit card quickly to pay? It will be over in a few years. MasterCard announced the end of the magnetic stripe. Other credit card providers are likely to follow suit.

If you want to describe a credit card, you’ll likely also mention the black bar on the back as well as the embossed card number. But it is precisely this magnetic stripe that Mastercard plans to put an end to soon. In Europe and other regions where payments are already primarily settled via the embedded chip, the first Mastercard credit cards without magnetic stripes will be distributed from 2024.

Since the USA is frequently used for invoicing using magnetic stripe technology developed by IBM in the 1960s, only banks there will be given the option to offer credit cards without magnetic strips from 2027 onwards. From 2029, Mastercard will no longer offer credit cards with a small black stripe. Since credit cards usually have a maximum validity of four years, the technology will finally expire with Mastercard as of 2033.

Credit Card Evolution Continues

Passing credit cards through an outdated magnetic stripe reader will likely emerge within a few years as the so-called Ritschratsch devices, in which embossed credit card information was mechanically transferred to carbon paper in order to later present transaction receipts to the card company. And the PIN entry that’s common today won’t be around forever.

Credit card design without magnetic strip. Mastercard also works without the usual text alignment and embossed font. (graphic: MasterCard)

Mastercard announced in 2017 that it would develop credit cards with fingerprint scanners. In 2019, the technology was tested by clients of France’s bank Crédit Agricole, among others, and such bio-cards are set to be introduced on a large scale in South Korea for the first time this year. Its main competitor Visa has also developed a similar technology.

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At the same time, paying directly with a smartphone or smartwatch is becoming increasingly popular. According to a representative survey, between September and November 2020, four out of ten participants paid at least once using a tool rather than an actual debit or credit card.

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