Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
PaidTales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Bill Maurer and Lana Swartz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035750

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035750.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Mag Stripe

Mag Stripe

(p.29) 4 Mag Stripe

David L. Stearns

The MIT Press

The plastic card is likely the most ubiquitous non-cash payment technology. It has been around since the mid-20th century, but may soon be obsolete. A key component of how plastic payment cards work in the United States is the magnetic stripe. Although a simple and effective, the “mag stripe” is much-maligned in the industry, as it is highly vulnerable to fraud. This chapter answers the questions: Why do US banks still issue magnetic stripe cards, and why did they adopt such a vulnerable technology in the first place? It also reviews alternative technologies for transmitting card information, such as chip and PIN, Optical Character Resolution (OCR), and Citibank’s patented “magic middle.”

Keywords:   Credit cards, Magnetic Stripe, Banking, Optical Character Resolution (OCR), Chip and PIN, Visa, Mastercard, Citibank

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.