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End of the Maestro card: the last curtain falls for Maestro

2021-10-21T16:11:48.497Z

With bank cards with the Maestro logo, customers abroad can easily pay and withdraw money, but the provider Mastercard intends to discontinue the service in the future. That puts the banks in a tight spot.



Enlarge image

Bank card with Maestro logo (archive image)

Photo: Fabian Sommer / dpa

The red and blue Maestro logo is emblazoned on many German bank cards, but the last curtain is falling for Maestro: From July 1, 2023, following a decision by the US card giant Mastercard, Maestro-compatible giro cards will no longer be issued.

This poses a problem for the German banks - even if the industry claims to have the situation under control.

For years, the Maestro logo has been emblazoned on a large part of the around 100 million German girocards that were formerly known as "EC cards".

Bank customers can use the Mastercard system to pay abroad or withdraw money from ATMs.

But the provider Mastercard is abolishing the offer.

Industry experts expect that Mastercard rival Visa could follow suit with its VPay offer.

The background: Both credit card companies offer their own debit card systems, which they want to make palatable to the banks.

Customers can initially see the quarrel between banks and credit card companies calmly: Anyone who has a giro card with the Maestro symbol can use it until the end of the term - for some customers this may even be the case until December 31, 2027.

However, the financial sector needs a new solution so that its customers can easily withdraw or pay money abroad in the future - and that very soon. The industry umbrella organization emphasizes that even after the Maestro system has been discontinued, it will be possible to ensure that customers can continue to use the Girocard abroad.

But how? Banks and savings banks are faced with two paths, each of which could cost them a lot of money: the institutes could switch to using the debit card systems from Mastercard or Visa, which the providers can pay for - or they can resort to their own payment system. The European banks are planning their own solution called the European Payments Initiative (EPI), which would compete directly with the credit card companies. But in order to introduce the EPI system across Europe in good time, investments worth billions would be necessary.

The industry is optimistic about finding a solution: For example, the Federal Association of German People's and Raiffeisen Banks (BVR) has been checking the so-called co-badging, which combines several payment methods on one bank card, for several months.

And the Savings Banks and Giro Association points out that a combination solution has already created a new generation of the Sparkasse Card that is available to the financial group's institutions.

If the dispute between banks and credit card companies goes off smoothly, all that is likely to change for customers in the future is the logo on their bank card.

mic / dpa

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-10-21

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