The magnetic strip will soon be a thing of the past for Mastercard users. The card company plans to do away with the strips on all of the credit and debit cards it issues by 2029, and the cards will have been completely phased out by 2033. New cards will either use the chip system that the UK started using exclusively in 2006, or a biometric system offering even greater security by using fingerprint identification, the BBC reports. The transition away from magnetic stripes will begin in 2024 in countries that already have largely done away with systems using the stripes, the Verge reports. In countries like the US, where such systems remain in wider use, the transition will begin in 2027.
Cashiers used flatbed imprinting machines to record card details before magnetic strips were introduced in the 1960s. IBM initially developed the strips while creating identity cards for CIA staffers, with Forrest Parry wanting to store information on a magnetic strip that was somehow attached to the card and his wife, Dorothea, using her iron to figure out heat could be used to join the two together. In the 1990s, the chip system was developed, holding information more securely on the integrated circuit chips embedded into cards. Contactless payments, which can be made using a card or a smartphone, have also skyrocketed in popularity amid the COVID pandemic. (Read more MasterCard stories.)