Maestro Card

(Talon Fast) #1

I think it would be really handy if Monzo offered an optional, secondary Maestro card in addition to the Mastercard Debit for people who travel to the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, etc. often. Bunq and N26 in the Netherlands offer this, and it would be great if we could get one from a UK bank!


and as well as a Mæstro card a UnionPay card as an option for those travelling to China etc.


Coming from a position of ignorance, I’m assuming that Maestro would be easier as it’s part of the MasterCard portfolio, whereas Union Pay is a whole different provider?

Speaking of which, are there any significant technical/product differences between MasterCard debit and Maestro? Does anyone know why MasterCard keeps the two seemingly parallel products?


I can’t speak for all Mæstro cards, but those I have had from Estonia, France, Germany etc could not be used on the internet. They seemed similar to Visa VPay compared to Visa Debit.

Merchants often pay lower fees for Mæstro than Mastercard Debit, and in some countries/banks the Mæstro card is often dual branded with another nation card scheme logo (probably with an additional AID file in the chip)

(Simon B) #5

I’ve spent a bit of time in Holland and it is bizarre how low Mastercard acceptance is outside of the big cities. They all think that any Mastercard must be a credit card. That’s why bunq offer both - Maestro for within Holland and Mastercard for travellers.


Thanks to @anon44204028 I now understand a bit more about the difference, but I do wonder whether the time for a difference between the products has come to an end.

It just all seems a bit bonkers - I wonder whether MasterCard or the European Commission are thinking about it? It’s effectively a barrier to the single market by making specific card types necessary in different parts of the Union…


agree, I think all national schemes in Germany and other countries should be ended and cards just use International standards


What’s the situation with Visa, out of interest? General assumption that they are all credit cards too? Or better national acceptance?

(Simon B) #9

To be honest, I’m not sure. I don’t use a Visa card on a regular basis anymore. I seem to remember acceptance was slightly better than Mastercard.


On a slightly different note, I’m assuming it’s not technically possible to encode one card as both MasterCard debit and as Maestro? That’d be kinda useful for European domination expansion - although I suppose that Bunq would have already done it if it were…


Fidor Germany has a combined Mastercard Debit and Mæstro that they call their Smartcard!

(Allie) #12

Technically possible, yes. It’s just two AIDs. Allowed by Mastercard? No idea, but I doubt it.


Interesting - thank you.

So I’m presuming that the international standard for cards (EMV, yes?) allows you to list permitted services (AIDs?) that then route payments and stuff (technical term there). Do you know what happens when there’s more than one AID? Is there an order of preference that the card and/or payment terminal works through, or is there room in the specification for users to select “I’d like to use my Visa Credit Card for this transaction”, for example?


You can have 2 AID files on a chip, e.g. MasterCard and LINK but not sure what dictates priority? Well, I would assume that is dictated by the ATM or POS


I understand where Fidor Germany customers have a Smartcard it brings up a menu on many terminals where you can chose MasterCard or Mæstro, with it defaulting to one of them (not sure which) on devices not capable of displaying an option choice. As they only have a standard MasterCard Debit card in the UK I have not had a chance to put their dual MasterCard Debit/Mæstro card thru it’s paces.

(Allie) #17

Yes but not every shop allows AID selection. If AID selection isn’t possible, two routes can occur:

  1. The priority list on the card can be followed. (Payment System Environment).
  2. The terminal can simply ask for matches in the order it wants priority to be, allowing the merchant to decide.