Maestro is an international debit card service. Maestro cards are obtained from associate banks and linked to the cardholder's current account. The cardholder presents the card at the Point of sale (POS) and this is swiped through the terminal by the assistant or the customer or inserted into a PINpad. The payment is authorised by the card issuer to ensure that the cardholder has sufficient funds in their account to make the purchase and the cardholder confirms the payment by either signing the sales receipt or enters their 4 to 6-digit PIN.
In Europe, Maestro is the successor to the Eurocheque system.
In the United Kingdom the former Switch debit card system has been rebranded as Maestro and uses chip and PIN technology.
In Ireland, customers of AIB are receiving a new AIB Maestro debit card which is to replace the current Laser card. The new card which uses Chip and PIN technology, can be used for all POS transactions that accept Laser or Maestro. The card can also be used at ATMs that accept Link, in addition to the Maestro supported machines. Most Laser cards issued by other banks also have the Maestro logo and function as Maestro cards.
In Belgium, the existing Bancontact/Mister Cash system will be phased out in favor of Maestro. This is directly in line with the European directive requiring member states to adopt a common payment system by 2010 (see Single European Payments Area).
In Brazil, Maestro has acquired the existing Redeshop service and is in the process of rebranding it as Maestro. Brazilian Caixa Econômica Federal is currently the major Maestro issuer in the world, with over 34,000,000 cards issued as Octber, 2006.
In Argentina, Maestro is the card used by the Banco de la Nacion Argentina, and others.
Because of its global acceptance and the increase in Maestro based prepaid cards, a major advertising campaign in the UK by the company calls Maestro 'The New Cash.'
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