For the longest time, credit cards relied on magnetic stripes, but with the rise of the more secure chip and contactless payment methods, the writing has been on the wall for magnetic stripes. Mastercard has officially announced that it will start phasing magnetic stripes out in 2024, with the remainder of stripes going away in 2033.
Magnetic stripes rose to prominence in the 1960s, so they had a long run as the primary method of processing debit and credit cards. They’re certainly better than the old imprinting credit card processing method, but they’re not as secure as chips.
Mastercard announced that the transition would start in 2024. At this time, the stripe will no longer be required on new cards in select regions like Europe, where chip and contactless cards are already widely accepted.
In the US, the transition will start in 2027, as chip adoption has been a little slower in the United States.
The big step happens in 2029 when no new Mastercard cards will come with a magnetic stripe at all. By 2033, Mastercard plans to have no more magnetic stripes out in the wild.
It’ll be interesting to see if Visa, Discover, and American Express follow Mastercard’s lead and announce moves away from magnetic stripes. It seems like most stores prefer to process chips over magnetic stripes nowadays. Many gas pumps are upgrading to chip readers instead of magnetic stripe readers, so this is just the natural progression.
By 2033, we could even see another form of credit card processing rise to the top. Contactless payments will undoubtedly keep growing, as many people jumped on them during the pandemic, but who knows what other methods will pop up over the next 10 to 12 years when this fully takes effect.