Maestro Debit is being phased out by Mastercard

Here's Why:

Written by Rebekah Moss 14 Mar 2022 - 3 Minutes reading time

Mastercard has announced that from July 1st 2023, it will no longer be issuing Maestro cards to customers. Instead, new, and existing Maestro customers will find previous their Maestro Debit services replaced by newer Mastercard products.

What is the difference between Mastercard and Maestro?

The difference between Mastercard and Maestro may be hard to distinguish - especially between Mastercard Debit and Maestro. In fact, Maestro was created by Mastercard in 1991, sharing logo similarities with their parent company as proof of their affiliation.

However, the brands are different, with the largerst comparison between the two brands boiling down to retailer acceptance.


Whilst Mastercard is a card network that can service transactions through credit, debit, and prepaid cards to customers for use online, in-store and at the ATM; Maestro has solely ever been issued as a [debit and pre-paid card with use in-store and the ATM](https://n26.com/en-eu/maestro-card#:~:text=Maestro%20cards%20can%20only%20be,the%20end%20of%20the%20month.).

Limited e-commerce roll-out of the Maestro Debit card was enabled across certain cards over the last 10 years - where debit cards made up just 10% of payments online - but increasing changes to consumer habits online, further pushed the move by MasterCard to discontinue the brand.

What is the issue with e-tailers and Maestro?

Despite the move to include e-tailer acceptance across some Maestro cards, e-commerce grew rapidly to begin including payments across commerce channels such as mobile apps and social media. This ultimately lead to a lack of consistency and failure of the Maestro brand to become a leading payment method.


A product of its time, Valerie Nowak, EVP Product and Innovation at Mastercard Europe, supports the discountinuation of the Maestro Brand, "the Mastercard network is twice as large as Maestro and offers far more possibilities for ecommerce transactions...as the world continues to rapidly transition from physical to digital, with consumer needs and behaviors changing accordingly, our goal is to provide people with a convenient and safe way to shop.”


Whilst Mastercard is a worldwide entity, Maestro's popularity in the consumer market largely resides in Europe, where e-commerce habits are vastly facilitated by debit card payments and bank transfers.

How will Mastercard replace current Maestro Cards?

With more than 400 million Maestro cards currently in circulation across regions such as Germany, Italy, the Netherland, Belgium and Switzerland, MasterCard's plan to replace existing Maestro cards is a simple one - for cardholders at least.


According to Mastercard, all active Maestro cards will still remain valid following the discontinuation of the brand after July 1st 2023.


Existing cards will be transitioned to the current MasterCard functionalities across Europe (with the exception of Russia, Belarus and Switzerland) with the last cards due to expire in 2027. Cardholders will then be issued a new debit MasterCard instead of a replacement Maestro card.

How will merchants adapt to the end of Maestro?

The priority for the discontinuation of the Maestro payment brand is largely, that acquirers will need to accept Mastercard soon, as card issuers may begin reissuing new Mastercards to Maestro cardholders at any time.


A larger concern falls to in-store and point of sale retailers, and the updates that may need making to any hardware and software programmed to process Maestro card payments.

Acquirers and retailers will have until July 2023 to make any changes in relation to the discontinuation of Maestro.


Despite rising fees across both Mastercard and Visa card schemes, no new pricing has been released in relation to processing fees and Maestro Cards at this time.

How can Total Processing help?

Total Procesing is a leading payments processor for merchants looking for online and in-store payment solutions across Europe and the MENA regions.

To learn more about how the discontinuation of Maestro might affect your processing fees, get in touch today!

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