MasterCard International is testing an anti-fraud system that detects counterfeit cards by comparing the electronic noise emitted by a magnetic stripe card when swiped through a point of sale terminal to a recorded version of the noise.

Each magnetic stripe emits a unique, low-level noise determined by the random arrangement of the ferrous oxide particles on the tape. When a thief makes a counterfeit copy of a card, the account number may be the same, but the card sings a different tune.

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