The pandemic has changed a lot of things, including the way we pay for goods and services. According to the Mastercard New Payments Index, 1 billion more contactless transactions were processed in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. What’s more, 45% of all in-person checkout transactions in the second quarter of 2021 were contactless.
Now, the global payments and a technology company has announced that it plans to start phasing out the use of magnetic stripes on its credit and debit cards in 2024.
As explained in the official announcement, the magnetic stripe will first start to disappear for Mastercard payment cards in regions where chip cards are already widely used, such as Europe. In regions where magnetic stripes are still used relatively often, the phasing out process will be delayed by 3 years. From 2029, no new Mastercard credit or debit cards will be issued with a magnetic stripe.
“It’s time to fully embrace these best-in-class capabilities, which ensure consumers can pay simply, swiftly, and with peace of mind,” says Ajay Bhalla, president of Mastercard’s Cyber & Intelligence business. “What’s best for consumers is what’s best for everyone in the ecosystem.”
The technology that makes magnetic stripes possible dates back to the 1960s, and we now have much more convenient and, above everything else, safer alternatives. One such alternative is the global EMV chip standard, which was introduced in the 1990s, enabling cardholder details to be held more securely on small integrated circuit chips embedded into cards.
Cards with EMV chips are currently responsible for 86% of in-person card transactions. We also have contactless payments, which can be made either using a card or with a modern, NFC-enabled smartphone. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many policymakers and retailers have been endorsing contactless payments as the best payment method available, and the trend will likely continue even in the future.
Spotify Is Experimenting With Artist NFT Collections
According to a recent survey, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform.
NFT sales may have declined by 92 percent since September 2021, but that’s not stopping Spotify from experimenting with a new feature that lets artists display their non-fungible token (NFT) collections on the music streaming platform.
At the moment, only a small group of artists are taking part in the experiment, including Steve Aoki and The Wombats. What’s more, only select US users of the Spotify app for Android can see NFTs when they visit the profile pages of the aforementioned artists.
“Spotify is running a test in which it will help a small group of artists promote their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles,” said Spotify spokesperson. “We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve artist and fan experiences.”
It’s important to point out that not all Spotify experiments result in new features. It all depends on the feedback the music streaming platform receives from users.
According to a survey some Spotify users have recently received, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform. More specifically, Spotify seems to be thinking about allowing its users to directly purchase NFT art to support their favorite artists.
Considering how polarizing NFTs have been since their inception in 2014, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many Spotify users have immediately expressed their dissatisfaction with the idea of NFTs becoming part of the Spotify music listening experience.
Other large tech companies are also experimenting with NFTs. Instagram, for example, started testing NFT integration last week, allowing NFT creators and collectors to display their tokens on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg himself believes that NFTs and digital collectibles in general will play an integral role in the metaverse, the new iteration of the internet.