You probably already know that the weakest link on your credit or debit card is the black magnetic stripe on its underside. When swiped through a skimmer, the device can capture and store all the details stored in the stripe. What you may not know is that most cards also make it possible to use the more secure chip-and-pin technology. So why do we still need magnetic stripes? Fraudsters are doing brisk business with counterfeit cards, having clocked transactions worth more than US$22.8bn on them in 2016. The Nilson Report, which publishes card loss data gathered internationally, is projecting losses of up to $33bn in card fraud by 2021. It says a number of countries simply have not met deadlines to adopt the chip-and-pin standard — also known as the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standard. Most other countries still have back doors such as the magnetic stripe, to accommodate travellers. "Such a dual system is also necessary to ensure operability of cards during the course of the...

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