Mastercard is ditching magnetic stripes: Here’s what happens to your card

Eric Abent - Aug 17, 2021, 1:36pm CDT
Mastercard is ditching magnetic stripes: Here’s what happens to your card

For several years now, we’ve seen consumers and merchants move away from magnetic stripe payments with credit cards. As new payment methods – such as chip and PIN, NFC payments, and even biometric cards – become more and more prevalent, some of us are wondering when the magnetic stripe will go the way of the dodo. Mastercard has given us some indication of when that will happen, announcing that it will begin phasing out the magnetic stripe on its credit cards.

The phase-out is going to be a slow one, as new Mastercards won’t be required to have a magnetic stripe until 2024 “in most markets,” the company said in a post to its website. That means until a yet-unknown date in 2024 arrives, newly issued Mastercards will still need to have the magnetic stripe included on them.

“The magnetic stripe will start to disappear in 2024 from Mastercard payment cards in regions, such as Europe, where chip cards are already widely used,” Mastercard said. “Banks in the U.S. will no longer be required to issue chip cards with a magnetic stripe, starting in 2027.”

The company goes onto say that in 2029, no new Mastercard credit card and debit cards will have a magnetic stripe, but that’s a requirement that prepaid cards in the US and Canada will be exempt from. By 2033, the company says that no Mastercard credit card or debit cards in the wild will have a magnetic stripe on them.

So, we’re looking at a date that’s more than a decade out before there aren’t any Mastercards that have magnetic stripes on them, but the idea is to give merchants enough time to phase out their magnetic stripe readers and adopt chip card readers. Still, even with a long timeline, Mastercard has committed to phasing out the magnetic stripe, so we’ll see if other card networks follow suit.


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