Starting in 2024, MasterCard will begin removing the magnetic stripe data storage from the back of its credit cards, in a rollout that will continue through 2033, region by region.
The stripe, which transformed credit card verification and use when it was introduced in the 1960s has become an antiquated method, easily copied and involved in a vast majority of credit-card fraud over the years. As first the EMV chip card and then contactless payment systems became ubiquitous, its importance shrank, although Visa and others have not yet announced plans to ditch it.
Before the stripe, multi-part carbon forms that pressed the card's numbers into the paper and were then deposited in banks almost like checks, were a barrier to wide acceptance of cards by small merchants and restaurants. The stripe transformed that by allowing the payment terminal to 'talk' directly with the financial system over a network and provide the merchant with both instant authentication and instant payment.
Europe is first in MasterCard's list—European banks asked to be allowed to drop the stripe several years ago—followed by the U.S. in 2027 and the rest of the world in 2029, except for prepaid cards in North America. Even those will be gone by 2033.