Eventually, one day, your fancy physical titanium Apple Card will no longer have a magnetic stripe. If you’re familiar with the headache of putting it through the wrong way the first time since the Apple Card’s stripe is on the back top while other cards always have it on the back bottom, you’ll be happy about this.
In a blog post, Mastercard laid out its plans to get rid of the magnetic stripe on credit cards over the coming years. It’s not exactly a rapid transition—it won’t be until 2027 until newly-issued Mastercards in the U.S. don’t have the stripe.
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As the Apple Card is just a Mastercard issued by Goldman Sachs, it will probably lose the stripe right along with all other Mastercards. Mastercard says that newly-issued cards will start to appear in regions like Europe as early as 2024, as chip payment systems are already far more popular there. In the U.S., that transition won’t begin until 2027. By 2029, no new Mastercard credit or debit cards will be issued with a magnetic stripe.
The Apple Card is currently only available in the U.S., so unless Apple works with other regional banks to issue it elsewhere, it’s going to have a magnetic stripe for at least six more years. Even then, the change would only be for newly-issued cards, which only happens with Apple Card when yours is lost or damaged. There is no number or expiration date on the physical Apple Card. When it renews, or if you have your card but need a new number because of potentail fraud activity, your “hardware” (as it were) does not change.
Of course, the intention is that you use Apple Pay as often as possible. As fancy as Apple’s titanium card is, it is really a backup for those times when you can’t tap-and-pay with your iPhone or Apple Watch. And this is really Mastercard’s reason for the transition: the rise of contactless payments, which is more convenient and secure, is making the stripe obsolete. And even when you have to use your card, the chip is preferred. The stripe is going away and few are going to miss it.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life - over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.