Some ten million Maestro bank cards will gradually be withdrawn from circulation in Belgium from July and be replaced with a Debit Mastercard, the company announced.
The Maestro brand has existed since 1991 and was "quite revolutionary" at the time, as the card enabled secure payments in several European countries, said Henri Dewaerheijd, director of the Belgian-Luxembourg branch of Mastercard. However, the card was developed for payments in physical stores, not for the digital age.
Therefore, the system will soon disappear and be replaced with the Debit Mastercard, Belga News Agency reports. The new card resembles a credit card, but the money for a payment is taken from the account immediately, instead of at the end of the month.
According to Mastercard, the new card is more widely accepted worldwide than Maestro and offers more options online. The transition will take a maximum of five years.
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People who have a Maestro card do not have to do anything: when the card expires, the bank will automatically send a new debit card (with a different and shorter card number). The card remains linked to the current account and will work in the same way.
Mastercard is a dominant player on the Belgian market with Maestro, although market leader BNP Paribas Fortis made the switch to competitor VISA for its debit cards two years ago.