The classic EC card probably has no future in Germany. Many banks prefer something else – debit cards. FOCUS online provides an overview of what you should know now.

From July 2023 there will no longer be any classic EC cards with a Maestro function. As the “FAZ” reports, one of the most popular payment methods for German consumers is on the verge of extinction.

The main reason for this is probably that payments via Maestro account for only a very small proportion worldwide and essentially only play an important role in Germany. Reasons behind the abolition of the system are therefore likely to be primarily cost reasons.

The EC card is already becoming obsolete at more and more banks. It is either available for a fee or not offered at all. Instead, you rely on other offers from the US competition for Visa and Mastercard.

This has a number of advantages for customers. The new debit cards make it much easier to pay online and abroad. With the conventional EC card, you always come up against limits here.

But there are also downsides. Visa and Mastercard have a very high market power. This allows them to charge very high transaction fees. For retailers, the fees are sometimes up to four times higher than with the Girocard.

Consumer advocates are therefore calling for a European system to counterbalance the US providers. However, the work on it is apparently difficult and the first financial institutions such as Commerzbank are already withdrawing. In addition, a statutory cap on fees could be helpful.

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