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Maestro (debit card)

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Mastercard Maestro
Maestro logo used since 14 July 2016.
Product typeDebit card
OwnerMastercard Inc.
CountryUnited States
DiscontinuedJuly 1, 2023 (2023-07-01) (Europe only)
Related brandsDebit Mastercard

Mastercard Maestro is a brand of debit cards and prepaid cards owned by Mastercard that was introduced in 1991.[1] Maestro is accepted at around fifteen million point of sale outlets in 93 countries.[2]

On July 1 2023 Mastercard began phasing out Maestro across Europe. European banks and other card issuers are now required to replace expired or lost Maestro cards with a different card.[3]


Maestro debit cards are obtained from associate banks and are linked to the cardholder's savings account, current account or any of several other types of accounts, while prepaid cards do not require a bank account to operate. Maestro cards can be used at point of sale (POS) and ATMs. Payments are made by swiping cards through the payment terminal, insertion into a chip and PIN device or by a contactless reader. The payment is authorized by the card issuer to ensure that the cardholder has sufficient funds in their account to make the purchase. The cardholder then confirms the payment by either signing the sales receipt or entering their 4- to 6-digit PIN, except with contactless transactions below a specified amount for which no further verification is required.

Maestro often requires on-line electronic authorization for every transaction, although Mastercard's rules permit the establishment of floor limits on Maestro EMV chip transactions only. Not only must the information stored in either the chip or the magnetic stripe be read, but this has to be sent from the merchant to the issuing bank, the issuing bank then has to respond with an affirmative authorization. If the information is not read, the issuer will decline the transaction, regardless of any disposable amount on the connected account, except in the Asia Pacific region, where manual keyed entry is permitted under some circumstances. This is different from most other debit and credit cards, where the information can be entered manually into the terminal (i.e. by typing the 13 to 19 digits and the expiry date on the terminal) and still be approved by the issuer or stand-in processor. In most countries, other than those specified in Mastercard's rules, a PIN rather than a signature is always required to authorise a Maestro transaction, except where no CVM (Cardholder Verification Method)[4] is required.

Acceptance and availability[edit]


Country/Region Available Replaced Replaced by Notes
 Argentina Yes Maestro is the card used by the Banco de la Nación Argentina and other banks, mostly state-run or provincial banks.
 Brazil No* Redeshop Mastercard acquired the existing Redeshop service in 2002 and rebranded it as Maestro, a few years later Mastercard rebranded their Mastercard Maestro to “Mastercard Débito“, where the name may erroneously suggest that it is a “Debit Mastercard“, but internally the cards are still Maestro. It is standard for most Brazilian credit cards to have a "dual-function" (when offered by the bank) where usually the bank debit card (Mastercard Maestro, Visa Electron or Elo) also has a credit function (usually the only brand in front of the card is Mastercard, Visa or Elo). When inserting, swiping or tapping the card it presents both functions to PoS and the seller selects which one to use.
 Chile Yes* Maestro debit cards are widely used, dual-branded with RedCompra, issued by the majority of banks (Santander issued only Maestro debit cards up to 2020[5]). They operate through the local Transbank and Cirrus network. Usually, Chilean Maestro cards have a small logo on the back of the card. Debit Mastercard cards are issued by Coopeuch and Santander. Chilean Maestro cards usually are contactless.
 Colombia Yes Davivienda, Colpatria, Helm Bank (of CorpBanca), Itaú Corpbanca, Banco AV Villas and other banks use Maestro and Cirrus system in their debit cards.
 United States Yes Visa and Cirrus at some banks Maestro is a PIN-based debit card network closely related to the Cirrus ATM network, also owned by Mastercard. Like other PIN-debit networks in the U.S., Maestro there relies solely on a standard card and PIN, without a chip; signature-debit transactions in the U.S. are handled through the main Mastercard network or the rival Visa network. RBS's former U.S. subsidiary, Citizens Financial Group, switched to Visa, though like most foreign banks with operations in the United States, it used MasterCard's Cirrus network and the card participated in the Mastercard SecureCode initiative. Maestro is accepted at several banks (First Hawaiian and Home Street Bank) in Hawaii.
 Uruguay Yes Maestro was until recently [6] the only debit card network issued by Banco de la República Oriental del Uruguay. Since BROU is the largest bank in Uruguay,[7] this means that Maestro is likely the largest network in Uruguay.
 Venezuela Yes Maestro is extremely popular. It is as of 2014, the leading debit card, issued by almost all major banks in the country. It is widely accepted in PoS. It works on all ATMs showing the Suiche7B, Mastercard, Conexus and Cirrus logos.


Country/Region Available Replaced Replaced by Notes
 China No Debit Mastercard or Visa Debit Bank of China used Maestro as its "international" debit card system in some areas before, but stopped issuing it from September 2016.[8] In April 2017, they launched "Cross-Border" EMV Debit Card with Visa and Mastercard.[9][10] Most ATMs owned by nationwide commercial banks still accept Maestro card. Also, certain ATMs will present the user with foreign language options upon insertion of a Maestro card.
 Hong Kong Yes MasterCard Debit Standard Chartered Hong Kong used Maestro as one of the ATM card systems. However, the clients should make the request for using the Maestro in advance, or the bank would only issue the UnionPay ATM Card to new clients as default.

In end-2021, the Bank announced the replacement of Maestro cards with MasterCard debit card. However, the card is only available to Priority and Priority Private customers. For other customers, they have to switch to the UnionPay system.

 India No MasterCard Debit Maestro is issued by most major banks, except ICICI Bank. Maestro issuing banks include the State Bank of India (India's largest bank), State Bank's affiliate banks, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Bank of Rajasthan, etc. The bank would only issue the RuPay ATM Card to new clients as default.
 Israel No Maestro Cards cannot be used at point of sales locations to make purchases but the Cirrus network is accepted at a majority of cash points most of the time. The exception is the 'First International Bank of Israel' (FIBI) who do not accept Cirrus. The most common debit cards by Mastercard are branded Mastercard Direct (operated for the banks offer the card by Isracard). Otherwise (but to a much smaller scale) offered Mastercard Debit by banks like Israeli Discount Bank & Mercantile Bank.


Country/Region Available Replaced Replaced by Notes
 Austria No Eurocheque Debit Mastercard Beginning with 2019, Austria's largest bank by assets Erste Group[11] began replacing Austrian Maestro cards with Debit Mastercard.[12] Other banks followed in 2020 and 2021.
 Belgium Yes* Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard Co-branded with Bancontact. BNP Paribas Fortis group started issuing co-branded Bancontact and Visa Debit cards in 2021. Keytrade Bank also started issuing co-branded Bancontact/Visa Debit cards in 2023. Two Crelan Group-owned banks (Crelan and Europabank [nl]) also switched over to co-branded Visa Debit/Bancontact debit cards (Axa Bank will merge with Crelan itself in June 2024 [13]). Belfius, KBC Group, Beobank & Argenta (bank) started issuing co-branded Bancontact/Debit Mastercard in 2023.
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Yes Debit Mastercard UniCredit Bank made the switch from Maestro to Mastercard on June 1, 2016.[14]
 Croatia Yes Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard Reiffeisenbank Hrvatska replaced Maestro card with Debit Mastercard (with vertical design) in 2019.[15] Erste Bank replaced Maestro with Visa Debit in 2020,[16] and Croatia's largest bank, Zagrebačka banka, did the same in 2021.[17]
 Denmark No Debit Mastercard Maestro has been replaced by the banks that issued it with Debit Mastercard. Moreover, the largest Danish bank Danske Bank has replaced all of its cash cards with Debit Mastercards.
 Germany Yes* Eurocheque In most cases co-branded with the German Girocard logo, but they cannot be used as Maestro over the telephone or on the internet. As of 2020, the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe announced to introduce a new co-branded Girocard using the Debit Mastercard system and effectively replacing the Maestro co-badge slowly.[18]
 Greece No Maestro debit cards have been issued by several major banks.[19] However, as of March 2015 all four major Greek banks have replaced Maestro cards with contactless Debit Mastercard.
 Iceland No Debit Mastercard or Visa Debit Maestro debit cards have been issued by several major banks. For example: an old Íslandsbanki request form for banking products includes Maestro and Electron debit card options: However, as of 2015, all banks have replaced them with contactless Debit Mastercard or Visa Debit cards.[20][21]
 Ireland No Laser Laser, which was co-branded with Maestro, has been replaced by Visa Debit and Debit Mastercard. The Laser debit card has been phased out by all banks and ceased to operate from March 2014. Irish Laser cards carried Maestro co-branding from 2008 onwards. They were intended to be used with chip and PIN POS systems. The chip on the card was programmed with two applications, one for Laser and one for Maestro. POS transactions were normally processed over the Laser network in Ireland and the Maestro network when the card was used abroad. Some POS terminals prompted users to manually select Laser or Maestro before completing the transaction. Laser cards could be processed as Maestro in most POS terminals worldwide for chip and PIN or swipe and sign transactions (where still accepted). Internet and telephone-based retailers, however, needed to be set up specifically to accept Irish Laser/Maestro cards. Transactions made with these cards were often secured by MasterCard's SecureCode system to verify the cardholder's identity. These cards were usually multi-functional and operated as a debit card as well as an ATM Card which could be used for accessing ATMs. Some banks also allowed customers to use their cards to deposit or withdraw money over the counter or at An Post post offices using their debit card and PIN. Historically the cards often contained a Cheque guarantee card function indicated by a hologram. This scheme was shut down in 2011. Foreign-issued Maestro cards are still accepted in Ireland in ATMs and by many POS machines. However, acceptance of Visa and MasterCard debit/credit cards is more reliably universal at POS terminals.
 Italy Yes* Usually co-branded with the national Bancomat/PagoBancomat and international Cirrus scheme. Most banks issue Mastercard Maestro, while some issue Visa Debit and V Pay cards.
 Netherlands Yes PIN Debit Mastercard or Visa Debit Most banks issue Maestro debit cards, with only De Volksbank and ING offering both V Pay and Maestro branded cards.[22][23] Prior to January 1, 2012, Dutch Maestro debit cards were co-branded with the national PIN scheme. This scheme has since been retired and replaced by Maestro and V Pay. And starting in 2022 shop owners will be required to start adding support for Debit Mastercard & Visa Debit to their POS-terminals.[24]
 Romania No Debit Mastercard Maestro was a popular debit card which was offered by major banks for about 20 years until it was replaced.
 Russia No Mir Maestro was issued by banks including Sberbank, which issues cards such as Mastercard Maestro Momentum and the Mastercard Maestro Social debit card. After Russian invasion of Ukraine, banks stopped issuing Visa, MasterCard and Maestro cards as they left Russia, and started issuing cards with Mir Payment System. Despite that, old and non-expired Maestro cards still work inside Russia.
 Serbia Yes Visa Debit Maestro debit cards are issued by several banks in Serbia. The main issuer was Banca Intesa Beograd until, in September 2012, Banca Intesa Beograd began to switch to Visa.[25]
  Switzerland Yes Debit Mastercard or Visa Debit
 United Kingdom No Switch The former Switch debit card system was re-branded as Maestro. Underneath the branding, however, the system was still the old Switch one and the cards were still fundamentally Switch. In 2011, MasterCard aligned UK domestic Maestro cards (the former Switch) with the standard international Maestro system, ending its status as a separate card scheme. This change also led to the discontinuation of the Solo debit card.[26] In January 2009 First Direct and HSBC discontinued the use of Maestro cards, issuing Visa Debit cards to new customers and a gradual roll-out throughout 2009 to existing customers. In September of the same year, the British arms of the National Australia Bank, namely Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, started the process of replacing the Maestro card with a Debit Mastercard for their current accounts, except for the Readycash and Student accounts, for which the Maestro card continued to be issued until 2015. Likewise, in the same month the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (Europe's largest debit card issuer which includes the NatWest, Coutts and Ulster Bank brands) switched from Maestro to Visa Debit, a process that took two years to complete.[27][28][29] This effectively meant that only a few smaller UK banks would be issuing Maestro cards. In 2015, Bank of Ireland UK replaced its Maestro debit cards with Visa Debit cards. Few if any issuers still issue Maestro cards nowadays in the UK, and acceptance of non-UK Maestro cards is patchy.


Maestro logo used from May 1992 until September 1996
Maestro logo used from May 1992 until September 1996
Maestro logo used from September 1996 until 14 July 2016.
Maestro logo used since 14 July 2016.
Mastercard Maestro logo used from 2004 in Brazil only.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mastercard Brand History". Mastercard.
  2. ^ "Redirect". www.maestrocard.com. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Mastercard Blog: Why this Maestro is retiring after 30 years". www.mastercard.com. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Cardholder Verification Methods: Concepts, Implementations, and Impacts - EMV Connection". www.emv-connection.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  5. ^ Santander, Banco. "Tarjeta de Débito Mastercard | Banco Santander". banco.santander.cl (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  6. ^ Portal, Montevideo. "El Banco República lanzó su primera tarjeta de débito con chip". Retrieved 2023-01-03.
  7. ^ Americas, BN. "Un vistazo a los bancos más rentables de Uruguay". Retrieved 2023-01-03. BROU es, por lejos, el banco más grande de Uruguay, pues representa casi la mitad del total de activos del sistema financiero.
  8. ^ "Great Wall "Maestro" International Debit Card (Discontinued from September 2016)". Bank of China. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
  9. ^ "Mastercard and Bank of China Launch China's First Cross-Border EMV Chip Debit Card". MasterCard. Retrieved 2014-04-21.
  10. ^ "Great Wall "Cross-Border" International Debit Card". Bank of China. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  11. ^ "Banks in Austria - Overview and Guide to Top 10 Banks in Austria". 21 November 2017. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  12. ^ "Debit Mastercard: Die Erste Bank ersetzt ab 2019 die Bankomatkarte" (in German). 4 April 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
  13. ^ https://www.axabank.be/nl/info-fusie
  14. ^ "Ostvarite popuste sa Debit MasterCard karticom UniCredit Bank". UniCredit Bank (in Bosnian). 31 May 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2024. Retrieved 4 March 2024.
  15. ^ "Evo je - naša nova RBA Mastercard® debitna kartica! Zanima te kako izgleda?". Facebook (in Croatian). Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  16. ^ "Erste banka prelazi na Visa debitne kartice" (in Croatian). Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  17. ^ "Maestro debitna kartica" (in Croatian). Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  18. ^ "Eine Karte - überall einsetzbar: Sparkassen-Card mit Co-Badge Debit Mastercard" (in German). Finanz Informatik (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe). Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  19. ^ "Where to apply". MasterCard. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  20. ^ Landsbankinn Debit Card
  21. ^ Íslandsbanki Debit Mastercard
  22. ^ "Betaalpas van V PAY of Maestro". www.snsbank.nl (in Dutch). 30 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  23. ^ "ING-debetkaarten nu ook beschikbaar met V Pay van Visa". www.banken.nl (in Dutch). 12 April 2018. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  24. ^ "Project DCA". www.betaalvereniging.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  25. ^ "VISA Inspire". Banca Intesa. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  26. ^ "Error". datacash.custhelp.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Lost and stolen cards - Royal Bank of Scotland".
  28. ^ "Lost and stolen cards - Lost debit card - NatWest".
  29. ^ "Debit Cards - Current Accounts - Ulster Bank".