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The Maestro Debit Card: An End and a Beginning

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In the ever-evolving landscape of financial technology, one name has stood the test of time as a reliable and versatile payment solution: the Maestro debit card. With its roots dating back to 1991, Maestro has been a stalwart companion in countless wallets around the world.

However, with the replacement for the Maestro cards already here, a new era in the world of payments is dawning.

Join us as we explore the Maestro card features, unveil the details of this inevitable transition, and discover how it’s poised to reshape the financial landscape.

What is Maestro?

Maestro is a debit card brand issued by the payment provider Mastercard, launched as the first online point-of-sale debit network in Europe. It enables in-store payments, ATM cash withdrawals, and, in some cases, online payments.

Maestro debit card

A Maestro card, unlike a credit or debit card, draws funds directly from the user’s checking account. This method makes it accessible at millions of locations worldwide.

How does a Maestro debit card work?

The Maestro debit card, offered by various banks, is directly linked to your checking account. It serves multiple purposes, including ATM withdrawals, in-store payments, and, for some, online transactions, all of which involve the same security measures.

For payments exceeding the safe spending limit, the Maestro card requires either a signature or a PIN, while ATM cash withdrawals consistently demand a PIN for added security.

The Maestro debit card facilitates cashless payments. In stores, payments are made effortlessly by simply holding the card or NFC chip near the reader.

Additionally, some Maestro cards enable online payments by utilizing the CVV code found on the card’s back. Customers input their card details on the payment page, and the Mastercard SecureCode further enhances security.

When using the Maestro card abroad, clients should be vigilant about potential additional fees imposed by specific banks, and verify the card’s acceptance in their chosen location.

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Advantages of Maestro debit card

Maestro streamlines transactions for businesses and customers with a fast, secure, and timely payment solution.

Convenient access

Maestro debit card is widely accepted at ATMs and businesses, allowing international use for withdrawals and cashless payments abroad. Therefore, businesses can expand without costly tech upgrades. They need only a credit card terminal or acceptance software.


Maestro emphasizes security with an NFC chip, PIN verification, and 3D Secure (3DS) authentication to prevent unauthorized transactions and limit losses. Transaction limits protect customers from unexpected expenses.

In case of loss or theft, the limited account balance adds security compared to credit cards, minimizing potential unauthorized use consequences.

Moreover, when travelling, using a debit card is safer and more convenient. It reduces the need for excessive cash, as travel tips suggest.

Easy money management

Personal finance suggestions often recommend Maestro for budget management. Transactions are deducted directly from the account, simplifying expense tracking and reducing overspending temptation.

a person using mobile pauments, atms

The Maestro to Debit Mastercard transition

Despite its advantages, starting in July 2023, the Maestro function was discontinued due to high costs and its incompatibility with online commerce.

While Maestro has over 400 million cards worldwide, it was originally designed for traditional, in-person commerce, struggling to adapt to the demands of today’s digitally driven marketplace.

Maestro’s limitations in supporting online transactions result in reduced convenience. Therefore, to meet evolving consumer needs, the Mastercard network has replaced Maestro with Debit Mastercard.

Mastercard, with its broader network, offers a more extensive range of options for e-commerce transactions.

Should you opt out of Maestro cards now?

Existing Maestro cardholders who issued or renewed their cards before July 1, 2023, can use their cards even for international travel until they expire, although some stores may no longer accept Maestro.

However, Maestro debit cards will remain operational in the field until at least 2027.

From now, all new cards, renewals, and replacements are provided with Mastercard products. The Debit Mastercard is the most common replacement for Maestro.

What are the advantages of the Debit Mastercard?

The inevitable shift to the Mastercard brand promises a host of benefits for cardholders. This change broadens the horizon of financial possibilities, providing:

  • Access to a more extensive retail acceptance network globally, with Mastercard being accepted in significantly more locations.
  • Enhanced e-commerce capabilities, empowering cardholders to shop online, set up recurring payments, and more.
  • Everyday convenience through digital channels.
  • The ability to pay for services requiring pre-authorisation, such as hotel bookings and car rentals.
  • Access to a broader array of Mastercard sponsorship assets.
  • Added security features like purchase protection and chargeback protection.

With Debit Mastercard’s widespread acceptance, it offers a wealth of payment options, both online and offline.

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While debit cards have their advantages, Debit Mastercard’s versatile offerings also include credit cards, making it one of the largest payment processing networks globally.

This extensive acceptance ensures that Debit Mastercard is the preferred choice for various transactions and purchases, cementing its position as an essential tool for consumers across the world.


What is the difference between a Maestro and Mastercard debit card?

The key difference between Maestro debit cards and Debit Mastercards lies in their capabilities.

Maestro cards work as debit cards, directly deducting funds from the connected checking account with each transaction.

In contrast, Mastercard offers more options, including debit and credit cards with purchases billed at the end of the billing cycle. Additionally, Mastercard offers a prepaid card. It lets you load funds without linking the card to a bank account.

Furthermore, Debit Mastercards are accepted in more places and support a wider range of online transactions due to their larger network. Maestro card numbers, with up to 19 digits, may not work on some online portals.

Both Maestro and Debit Mastercard are widely accepted by retailers and online merchants, and Maestro cardholders can use the extensive Mastercard Cirrus ATM network for cash withdrawals worldwide.

Is Maestro accepted in the UK?

The use of a Maestro card for in-store transactions in the UK is quite unlikely, but you should have no trouble getting cash from ATMs.

Bank of Ireland UK switched from Maestro to Visa Debit cards in 2015. Therefore, acceptance of non-UK Maestro cards is spotty. Today, only a few issuers still offer Maestro cards in the UK.

What are the disadvantages of the Maestro debit card?

First, it’s essential to note that as of July 1st, 2023, obtaining a new Maestro card is no longer an option. This transition marks a significant shift in the landscape of payment options. It’s a change that affects both current and potential cardholders.

However, when it comes to using these cards, the inability to make online purchases is the major drawback of the Maestro feature.

Živilė Šarkauskaitė

Živilė is a writer with a diverse background, having worked with tech start-ups and pioneering brands across various industries. Her profound interest in progress and innovation drives her to the field of Fintech, a realm that sparks her curiosity and inspires her to share insights with others.

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