From 1 July, something will change in the wallet of many consumers: because then the end of Maestro cards will be heralded. The big picture.
Munich – bar or card? In response to the standard question at the checkout about the desired payment method, most customers nowadays pull out their plastic. Even abroad, things go over the counter in this way without any problems. This was made possible not least by the Maestro payment system.
After more than 30 years, the international debit card service Mastercard is now being retired. As the U.S. company announced, no new Maestro cards will be issued from July 1. So will consumers have to have more cash in their wallets when they go shopping in the future?
Does the end of Maestro mean the end of card payments?
Not only since the Corona pandemic, cashless payment has become increasingly popular. Two out of three purchases were made with the card in 2021, according to the Tagesschau. The end of Maestro cards, which was already announced in 2021, is unlikely to have an influence on this trend: As consumer advocates inform, this is merely a payment system, comparable to Visa's competing "V-Pay". This would be replaced by other systems for banks in the future.
What is a Maestro card?
Bank cards with the Maestro function are credit cards similar to debit cards from US provider Mastercard. But unlike credit cards, the amount is debited directly from the checking account. This makes it possible to access the bank account worldwide. It is also often used for online shopping. Which payment system will follow Maestro is still uncertain, according to the consumer advice center.
"Even without the Maestro function, the giro card is fully operational in Germany," writes the consumer portal on its homepage. Regardless of the end of Maestro, consumers with a debit card would be able to pay as usual – whether in stores or online – and withdraw money at home and abroad. "All functions of the Girocard will be retained," says the consumer advice center. Nevertheless, it is advisable to have a certain amount of cash in stock.
From July 2023, no new giro cards with a Maestro function would be issued. Giro or usually colloquially also EC cards, with a valid term, remain valid and functional until the specified date. According to the consumer advice centre, no one has to take action. The respective bank would contact its customers, a change would first have to be agreed. The consumer advice centre recommends seeking advice in advance.
No change at Aldi or Lidl: Everything as usual at the discounter checkout
This means that the end of the Maestro has no influence on supermarket shopping. Most recently, the news circulated that from July 1, card payments would no longer be accepted at discount stores. The supposed reason: an outdated payment function of the cards. The same reason for the end was also given by the company Mastercard.
Contactless payment: Soon a picture of days gone by? For July 2023, the end of the Maestro payment system, with which many EC cards are operated, has been announced. © Ute Grabowsky/Imago
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
A misconception: "In all Aldi stores, shopping can still be paid for in cash as well as with debit cards or credit cards," a spokeswoman for Aldi Süd clarified. Cards from American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Union Pay and Discover would continue to be accepted. "Nothing will change for Aldi customers," the spokeswoman said.
And even with the discounter competitor Lidl, customers do not have to make a detour via the ATM in advance. "Mastercard's decision to discontinue Maestro cards or cards with an additional Maestro function has no impact on our IT infrastructure or EC terminals," the discounter said. In principle, changes to the supermarket checkouts are not excluded: recently, an Aldi store tried a self-service checkout.