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What is Maestro and how is it different from Mastercard?

June 9, 2022
3 minute read
woman shopping

Maestro and Mastercard are two big names in the debit and credit card market. Understanding their similarities and differences will help you choose the card that best fits your lifestyle.

Below, we’ll dive in a bit more on Maestro and how it compares to Mastercard. You'll also find out how to order a new card and start taking advantage of the benefits it provides.

What is Maestro❓

Maestro is a brand of debit card that Mastercard issues. Mastercard launched the brand in 1991.

Maestro was the first online point-of-sale debit network. It was the first debit brand that cardholders could use almost anywhere in Europe. Maestro allows in-store payments and cash withdrawals at ATMs.

Some Maestro cards allow online payments.

And as any Dutchie will know…it’s the only card that lets you pay for anything and everything in the Netherlands.

Maestro vs Mastercard💳

Mastercard is the issuer of a Maestro debit card. Confusion between the two is understandable. The main difference is the type of card available from each brand.

Maestro is a debit card. It can be linked to a bank account or be prepaid. People may refer to a Maestro credit card, but all Maestro cards are actually debit cards.

A Mastercard can be a credit, bank debit, or prepaid card.

Debit vs Prepaid vs Credit🙌

A debit and prepaid card work in basically the same way. Cardholders can carry out transactions with the money available in their account. With a standard debit card, this is a bank account. With a prepaid card, it's the money loaded onto the card.

Payments or withdrawals come directly from the money available.

A credit card works differently. The bank pays transactions as they occur and gives the bill or invoice to the cardholder once a month. The bank or card issuer essentially loans the money to the cardholder.

How does a Maestro debit card work❓

A Maestro debit card works the same way as a Mastercard debit card. Cardholders can use either type of card to make in-store payments or withdraw cash at an ATM.

When online purchases are allowed with a Maestro card, the same security protocols as for Mastercard are in effect. The Mastercard SecureCode system will give the shopper another step for identity verification. A one-time passcode is often the verification method.

Card payments over a set limit need the cardholder's signature or PIN. Cash withdrawals at an ATM always need the PIN. Both Maestro cards and Mastercards support contactless payments.

Where to use Maestro vs Mastercard📍

Around 400 million Maestro cards are in circulation around the world. Maestro is especially popular in Europe. The largest European markets include Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland.

The Mastercard network is twice as large as Maestro. It supports more e-commerce transactions. The format of Maestro card numbers with up to 19 digits isn't compatible with many e-commerce portals.

Many retailers have the Mastercard and/or Maestro logo on the door to show that they accept these cards. Online merchants also often show the card logos at checkout.

A Maestro card gives you access to the Mastercard Cirrus ATM network. The Cirrus network is one of the largest in the world. Maestro and Mastercard cardholders can securely withdraw cash at millions of ATMs around the world.

Benefits of a Maestro debit card🎉

Retailers and ATMs worldwide accept Maestro cards. For people who live in Europe or will be travelling there, the popularity of Maestro makes it a good choice.

Debit cards like Maestro have several advantages for managing a budget. Personal finance tips often include a recommendation for using debit cards instead of credit cards, because you won’t risk falling into debt.

Debit purchases come directly from the cardholder's account. Tracking spending is easier. The temptation to overspend is lower because the only money available is what's in the account.

Debit cards can be an advantage when traveling. Cardholders don't need to carry as much physical cash. This is safer financially and personally, as many travel tips explain.

If a debit card is lost or stolen, the thief can only use the amount of money in the account. No one wants to deal with the stress and hassle of unauthorized purchases. At least the damage will be more limited than if a thief takes a credit card.

Benefits of a Mastercard🥳

Mastercard gives you the option of a credit or debit card. Debit cards have many advantages. For larger purchases or making reservations, though, choosing a credit card may be a better option.

Mastercard is one of the two largest payment processing networks in the world. Almost any retailer that accepts credit or debit cards will take Mastercard. Cardholders can make online purchases from almost any site.

The future of Maestro cards➡️

Despite the many benefits of a Maestro card, Mastercard will be discontinuing the brand. According to a statement, Mastercard said that the main reason is to give cardholders an improved ability to make purchases online. Cardholders will be able to use their new debit cards online and offline in many more places.

Banks and card issuers will start replacing expired or lost Maestro cards starting 1st of July 2023. The standard replacement will be a Mastercard debit card.

Cardholders don't need to take any action to get an updated card. When their Maestro cards expire after 1st of July 2023, their bank will send a new debit card. The new card will be linked to the same account and work the same way as the Maestro debit card.

How to get a Maestro or Mastercard🌈

Mastercard doesn't issue cards directly. You can get a Maestro or Mastercard with your account from bunq. The process is simple:

  • Open the bunq app
  • Tap "Cards"
  • Tap "Add Debit Card" or "Add Credit Card"
  • Choose the card you want

The card will arrive in the mail within 10 business days. You can then simply link it to Apple Pay or Google Pay, and enjoy mobile payments. 

Start enjoying the benefits of your card🚀

Retailers worldwide accept Maestro and Mastercard. Cardholders have convenient access to ATMs for cash withdrawals.

If you want a debit card, and you'll be using it mostly in Europe, Maestro may be a good choice. If you want a credit card, you'll need a Mastercard. Mastercard also gives you more freedom to make online purchases.

bunq makes getting a new card quick and easy. You can open an account in just five minutes and have your Maestro or Mastercard a few days later. Online support is available 24/7 if you have questions or need help.

Compare our plans today to choose the plan and the best debit card or credit card for you.

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