With effect from 1 May 2014 all banks’ credit and debit card transactions made using the magnetic stripe will be declined, both inside and outside Qatar.

This follows a directive from Qatar Central Bank (QCB) to curb fraudulent activity. A Magnetic Stripe is a dark stripe of magnetic material located on the back of your card consisting of several tracks of data. This is usually a card transaction that involves swiping the magnetic stripe of the card at the Point of Sale (POS) terminal. The risk of unauthorised transactions being effected on your debit and credit cards is higher when you use Magnetic Stripe. This is because the data encoded on the cards Magnetic Stripe maybe easily replicated. Most fraudulent transactions are completed with Magnetic Stripe.

ATM cash withdrawals and point of sale transactions are affected but not e-commerce (online transactions) or those using the Chip technology (the small gold square on the card) including Chip ATM Cash Withdrawals and Chip Point of Sale. As many countries such as the US, India, Thailand and Japan still use the Magnetic Stripe for transactions, those travelling overseas should contact their bank for temporary activation. Other countries like the UK, Australia and Hong Kong may or may not have Magnetic Stripe transactions. However, most countries have implemented Chip technology and all debit and credit card transactions processed using the Chip will be unaffected.

*Note: Please check with your bank for further information or clarification if this affects you.

For more information, visit QCB’s website.