Maestro and associated card carrying the same name is a bespoke brand of the huge, well-known and popular Mastercard company. It is a debit card, which offers also a prepaid variant. Debit cards will be directly linked to that particular customer’s bank account whereas prepaid services would be a stand-alone card requiring no associated bank account.
The Maestro brand first appeared in 1991 and originated from the United States of America, however, it is commonly used nowadays worldwide and at the time of review was accepted and recognized in over 90 countries.
Where the Maestro card differs slightly from the commonly seen credit and debit cards of today, is that it was designed for the same convenience and security with the added element of those who travel more, especially to other countries where local currency may be different from the usual or home currencies.
The idea is that travellers, holidaymakers or maybe those who frequently travel for work and business are able to use their Maestro cards to pay for good and services or withdraw cash from ATM’s in the local currency more or less wherever they may be.
Transactions and payments can be made with the Maestro card in numerous ways. These would include swiping the cards magnetic strip (found on the back of the card), payment via chip and pin where the user pushes their card into the payment terminal and then enters their 4 digit PIN (personal identification number) and more recently the contactless method, in this instance users would normally visually check the payment total displayed on the terminal is correct and when happy simply tap their card on to the machine to complete the transaction.
It is worth noting that some Maestro cards carry a 6-digit PIN number rather than the usual 4-digit one and also that contactless payments carry a maximum cap, usually around the €50 level, every 5th transaction would deny a contactless payment and would require a chip and PIN payment, this is done as an extra security measure.
The prepaid card service is primarily focused on 2 main factors, one being that the owner or user would not need to carry huge sums of cash around or make unnecessary visits to their bank or an ATM, the other would be aimed towards those with maybe a not so good credit rating as although classed as a credit card in this instance, no actual credit agreement is in place and it is up to the user to fund their Maestro prepaid cards with their own funds. This can be done by paying or transferring cash on to the card from another source such as a current account or savings account and can be done in person or online.
The design and presentation of the card are not really any different from credit and debit cards. Bespoke by the issuing bank’s design on the front of the card, along with the long 16 digit card number, name of the owner and the chip. The rear of the card would carry the magnetic strip, signature strip and CVC (Card verification code)
These cards are very practical when it comes to their uses. Obviously, funds need to be available in the associated bank account at the time of the transaction (or pre-loaded on to the pre-paid cards) However they can be used to withdraw cash, pay for good and services and to complete online deposits, payments and transfers.
Credit: Written by Jon M.