Maestro issued in the UK

Have to travel to Benelux countries for work. Is it still the case that Maestro is de facto obligatory?

Does anyone know if, and where, I can get a Maestro card issued in the UK?

There are no UK Meastro cards being issued - haven’t been for years now. I’m afraid I can’t comment on whether acceptance of other payment methods has improved in the places your visiting though. Hopefully someone can add to this.

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Just had a quick Google and Mastercard are retiring Maestro in Europe from next summer, replacing with Mastercard Debit. So I’d hope that they’re already ramping up acceptance of Mastercard I those places. But wise to check.

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I’ve seen that, but reports from Netherlands are that it’s still entrenched. Just don’t want to get caught out.

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I think it kinda depends where in Benelux and how long for.

In Belgium it’s pretty easy to get by with MasterCard. I hear that the Netherlands is more difficult. Not sure about Luxembourg (but I suspect MasterCard is fine).

If you’re just there for a few visits of a few days, I wouldn’t worry. If you’re there for an extended period, then Belgian banks are pretty much set up to open accounts for international visitors, especially in places like Brussels.

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I’ve recently been to the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and found no problems at all in Luxembourg (and good card payment acceptance) but the Netherlands is the one of the two where people still seem to expect and use Maestro more. It was definitely the card all the locals still seemed to have.

However, I had no major issue in the couple of days I was there. I did buy some poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes) from a lady’s bike-driven street stall in Amsterdam and had to use Revolut to send her the money via IBAN as it was either cash, Tikki (domestic Monzo.me style money transfer) or that only. It all went fine even then and she didn’t think it was a problem!

I also went to some touristy Albert Heijn locations in and around Amsterdam (reports of Maestro and V-Pay only in the past at some of them) and noticed that they accepted all the card networks - even Amex! However, this may have been due to the location.

By next summer, locals will start having non-Maestro cards too, so holdouts will have to cave and I doubt it will be an issue by then.

To add to @Peter_G’s post regarding expat accounts in Belgium: it was very much the case that banks in Luxembourg appeared set up for that too, if you were moving there or had business in the country. I saw adverts from several banks offering services to foreign nationals.

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PS: By the way, I did also come across a Maestro-only restaurant in Germany this summer. I had no choice there but to pay in cash as it was cash, V-Pay or Maestro only. “KreditKarte” of any Visa or Mastercard type was forbidden!

I appreciate it’s a problem sometimes but the only solution I have heard of is to use a Revolut account and:

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  1. Change your address to Germany or Austria
  2. Order a Maestro card to that address
  3. Change it back to your normal address

Obviously this is not supported and may mean you get into trouble with Revolut, but if you really need a Maestro card for some reason then that will probably cover you.

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Hmm. I understand about the ending of the Maestro scheme but unfortunately I’ll be there for a while quite soon. I had a feeling it might be the Revolut switcheroo routine. I’ll give it some thought.

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It is quite literally the only method I am aware of for a British citizen without links to the Netherlands, Belgium or Luxembourg to obtain a card.

I haven’t done it myself, but have heard it works. I’d recommend ordering to a real address while you are actually staying in Germany or Austria, though - otherwise I don’t know if they let you re-route your card once you change your address to the U.K. again.

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I’m afraid you can’t simply change your address on Revolut from the UK to that of a country in the EU anymore.
The entity serving EU residents is different to the one serving UK residents and the app doesn’t allow/isn’t able to accommodate this change.
You’d effectively have to close the account registered to an address in the UK, and open a new one to an address in mainland Europe.

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If that’s true, then there are two geographical restrictions at play here: firstly, the EU entity barrier (Revolut accounts held with Revolut in the EU vs held in the UK) and also their policy to restrict Maestro further to specific countries - not the whole EU.

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I’ve asked revolut to see how you could go about this in app.

Strange a country would solely use maestro though. Or as a comment above. Some odd place will likely use maestro due to less charges involved? But for the most part Visa/MasterCard is fine?

Impossible.

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Thanks for all the advice, appreciated. I’ll just have to cross my fingers, and get some euro!

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MasterCard/Visa are usually credit cards, charging merchants higher fees. In Europe it’s usual to have a Maestro/VPay/Visa Electron debit card and potentially a separate credit card.

These are of course country dependent. For example, in France you might get a Visa/MC CB debit card, or a deferred debit card (which is their credit card option). Germany, Benelux, Switzerland - VPay + a separate CC. Netherlands - Maestro + a CC. Romania - Visa Electron + a CC.

Apart from lower fees, some of these cards can only be used nationally and only in store, reducing how open to fraud they are (as there isn’t a card number printed on them, but rather just the account number). For online payments, you’d use Sofort or a similar alternative to push a payment from your current account.

You can have a look at Bunq! They offer maestro cards, but I can’t remember if only for Netherlands/Germany/Benelux residents.

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Oh! bunq, yes! I’ll check that out.

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