Mastercard to phase out magnetic strips on cards by 2033

Mastercard will be phasing out the strips.Mastercard will be phasing out the strips.
Mastercard will be phasing out the strips. | Shutterstock

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The magnetic strip has been used on debit and credit cards since the 1960s.

Mastercard is set to phase out magnetic strips on its cards, once the vital element of all debit and credit cards.

The financial services giant has said that the strip is becoming obsolete as consumers and merchants increasingly rely on chip technology for secure transactions.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • Mastercard says the strips are becoming obsolete because of an increase in contactless payments as well as online smartphone alternatives like Apple Pay. 
  • Biometric cards combining a user’s fingerprints with chips to verify their identity are also on the rise.
  • Because many shoppers simply insert or tap their cards rather than swiping them, this means that the magnetic stripe is becoming redundant. 
  • Mastercard has said that their debit and credit cards will not be required to have a magnetic strip in “most markets” and will be phased out completely by 2033.
  • Mastercard claims to be the first payment network to get rid of the magnetic strip.

What’s been said

Ajay Bhalla, president of Mastercard’s cyber and intelligence business, said: “It’s time to fully embrace these best-in-class capabilities, which ensure consumers can pay simply, swiftly and with peace of mind.”


Magnetic strips have been used on debit and credit cards since the 1960s.

For years, fewer people have been swiping their cards, meaning that the tech is becoming increasingly redundant.

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The pandemic also accelerated take up of new contactless payment methods, with contactless accounting for 45% of all in-person checkout transactions globally, Mastercard said.

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