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No more payment abroad possible? Savings banks rely on new cards without a Maestro function


The end for Maestro - the first savings banks have already exchanged EC cards Created: 03/01/2023, 16:00 By: Anna Heyers The Maestro feature will expire in July 2023. Consumers who want to pay abroad with the EC card then look into the tube. However, some banks are being given a respite, while others are breaking new ground. It is the most popular payment card in Germany: the Girocard. In ever

The end for Maestro - the first savings banks have already exchanged EC cards

Created: 03/01/2023, 16:00

By: Anna Heyers

The Maestro feature will expire in July 2023.

Consumers who want to pay abroad with the EC card then look into the tube.

However, some banks are being given a respite, while others are breaking new ground.

It is the most popular payment card in Germany: the Girocard.

In everyday life, it is also often simply called an EC card, and there are around 100 million of them in circulation.

The blue and red Maestro logo has been on it for years.

But the credit card company Mastercard announced that savings banks and banks will no longer be able to issue giro cards with the Maestro symbol from July 1, 2023, as Maestro will be discontinued.

Instead, there are cards without the function - but with new possibilities.

Savings banks have already exchanged EC cards

The savings banks are at the forefront with the exchange of Girocards.

According to

, for example, all 170,000 cards at Sparkasse Siegen are already equipped with the new Mastercard function.

The Sparkasse Niederbayern-Mitte relies on Visa and began exchanging 110,000 cards in December.

In Cologne at the Kreissparkasse, the new bank card (Mastercard and Visa as a co-badge) will be issued to customers from June, the exchange of existing cards is planned from October 2023.

From July, the Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken will probably also issue cards without a Maestro function.

Maestro cards issued before July 1, 2023?

Anyone who received a new bank card with the Maestro logo need not worry that it will no longer work from July.

The cards may probably continue to be used until the expiration date.

After that, customers will be issued a new card.

If in doubt, ask your bank.

According to

, S-Payment, Sparkasse's payment service provider, reported

that around 60 percent of the savings banks use Mastercard giro cards, and the rest use the Visa variant.

A significant increase for the credit card company, because so far only a few savings banks have relied on the Maestro counterpart: V-Pay.

In most cases, the new Sparkasse card will probably bear the colors of the Mastercard, red and orange, instead of the blue and red circles of the Maestro logo as before.

© DGLimages/S-Payment GmbH

Maestro-Aus: Postponement for some banks

In the event of technical challenges, the Mastercard company promises help with migration plans, which may also include transitional periods.

reports that customers of the Frankfurter Volksbank can still use the Girocard with Mastercard function until the end of 2027.

Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank are currently reluctant to make statements about the future foreign functions of their bank cards - which suggests transitional periods here as well, as


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Private banks rely on Visa debit cards

Some private banks, such as Targobank, Santander, Hypo-Vereinsbank or Comdirekt, have recently (or for a long time) no longer had Girocards.

They largely rely on a Visa debit card.

Advantage here: The virtual cards can also be used with Apple Pay or similar payment apps.

In the past, this was only possible for savings bank customers with giro cards.

However, Visa or Mastercard debit cards are not accepted at all cash registers in Germany.

Definition: What is Maestro?

With the Maestro function, cardholders can also withdraw money abroad or pay with the Girocard.

Maestro is a service of the American Mastercard company.

Direct competition is V-Pay from Visa, which can also be used to make payments abroad.

As a rule, either the V-Pay or the Maestro logo can be found on the approximately 100,000 million bank cards in Germany.

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Abroad: Withdrawing money and making payments without a Maestro function

With the abolition of the Maestro function, it will no longer be possible to withdraw money abroad as usual with the giro card, believes Christian Urban from the NRW consumer advice center.

However, that does not mean that this will no longer be possible.

The termination of the Maestro function actually only affects the use of the card abroad.

Christian Urban, North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Center (VZNRW, source: dpa)

According to dpd, a statement from the consumer advice center states: “Banks can use other systems to enable foreign operations.

Whether that will be via a different payment system or a second card will probably become apparent in the coming months.”

What is behind the abolition of the Maestro function?

Mastercard itself explains in a message that the Maestro function is no longer up-to-date and will therefore be abolished.

"Where the growth in online trade far exceeds that in retail, it's time to renew the Maestro cards," writes the company, according to a


press release.

The biggest disadvantage of the Maestro function is that you cannot use it to pay online in most places.

A credit card is required for this.

Out for Maestro: No problem within Germany

According to the NRW consumer advice center, the Girocard will remain fully operational in Germany even without the Maestro function.

Future payments and withdrawing money will continue as usual.

According to the dpa

, the Baden-Württemberg consumer advice center suspects

another reason behind the abolition.

A statement states that Mastercard wants to earn more from online sales.

The EC card is a standard means of payment in Germany.

If payments are no longer possible due to the missing Maestro function, customers would have to resort to credit or debit cards (e.g. from Mastercard) more often than direct debit.

Difference: giro cards, debit cards and credit cards

With all three cards, you can withdraw money from the machine and make cashless payments.

With the credit card, the transactions are collected and debited from the account once a month.

With the debit card and the Girocard, the amounts are immediately deducted from the account.

The debit card looks similar to a credit card, but behaves more like a Girocard, even if you can still use the debit card to pay abroad in the future.

Disadvantage here: Many shops in Germany prefer giro or credit cards as a means of payment.

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2023-01-03

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