What is Maestro?

Maestro is a brand of debit card issued by Mastercard. Maestro cards can be used for in-store payments and for withdrawing cash at ATMs. Most Maestro cards also allow online payments, depending on the associated bank.

N26 maestro card with a background image of a beach.
Hands holding N26 You and Maestro card with wheat background.

Maestro vs. Mastercard—what’s the difference?

Maestro debit cards and Mastercards are both issued by Mastercard, so it can be easy to confuse the two. The key difference is that Maestro is available only as a debit card, whereas Mastercards can be issued as a debit, credit, or prepaid card.
To learn more about the differences between the two types of cards, read our guide on debit, credit, and prepaid cards.

How does a Maestro debit card work?

Issued by associated banks, a Maestro debit card is linked directly to your checking account. Customers use a Maestro card for withdrawing cash at an ATM or making a payment at a retailer, and some Maestro cards allow online payments too. Once a payment is made, the transaction is tracked to the linked account, and the amount is deducted from the balance.

Which retailers accept Maestro card payments?

De nombreux commerçants et distributeurs automatiques à travers le monde acceptent les cartes de débit Maestro pour effectuer des retraits d’espèces, des transactions sans contact et des paiements vérifiés par code PIN. Pour indiquer aux clients que ce type de carte est accepté, les commerçants apposent généralement le logo rouge et bleu de Maestro sur la porte de leur magasin. En cas de doute, nous vous conseillons de vérifier auprès du commerçant s’il accepte les cartes Maestro.

Clothes store Photo by Burgess Milner.

Benefits and drawbacks of Maestro debit cards

Maestro cards are recognized worldwide, offering convenient access to money at home and abroad. Plus, because debit purchases are deducted directly from your account, it’s easy to track where your money was spent. Payments made via Maestro cards also reduce the need for physical cash, making your money safer.

One drawback is that some transactions may incur fees, like using a non-branch ATM to withdraw cash.

Maestro debit card—NFC technology-enabled

Maestro cards are NFC technology-enabled. This technology digitally links the card, the connected bank account, and a retailer’s payment reader to take contactless payments.

With one tap at checkout, the electronic software communicates directly with your bank account to deduct funds.

To learn more about NFC and contactless technology, read our guide to contactless payments.

Are payments made with Maestro safe?

Maestro debit card payments have to be verified by the cardholder’s signature or unique PIN if they go over a set limit, making them a quite safe form of payment. Cash withdrawals at ATMs can only be processed after entering your unique PIN, regardless of the withdrawal amount. This greatly reduces the risk of large fraudulent payments or unauthorized use.

How to get an N26 Maestro debit card

You can order a Maestro debit card if you are a resident of Germany, Austria or the Netherlands. Maestro debit cards are completely free for premium account holders, and those with a Standard account can order one for a one-off €10 delivery fee.

  1. Open your app,
  2. tap “Cards”,
  3. tap “Get an additional card”,
  4. look for the “Maestro” tab,
  5. Tap “Choose” to place the card order, and
  6. Done.

You should receive your card within 10 working days.

N26 Maestro Mastercard.

How to use an N26 Maestro debit card

  • Once you receive your N26 Maestro debit card you can begin using it right away. Simply make a purchase and present your card at checkout.
  • N26 Maestro debit cards are NFC-enabled with touch-free technology, so you can simply tap your card at checkout when making smaller purchases in person.
  • Larger payments and any ATM withdrawals will need to be verified by entering your 4-digit PIN or with a signature.

Why does N26 offer both Maestro and debit Mastercards?

Offering both Maestro cards and debit Mastercards gives our customers multiple payment options that are widely accepted across the globe. The more ways to pay, the more flexibility we can offer our customers.

What is a Maestro card?

A Maestro card is a debit card issued by Mastercard. Customers can make cash withdrawals at ATMs and contactless or PIN-verified payments in stores. Some cards also enable payment for online purchases.

What is the difference between a Maestro card and a Mastercard card?

Maestro cards can only be used as debit cards, meaning they only have access to the funds on the owner’s bank account. A Mastercard, on the other hand, can be issued as a debit card or a as a credit card, where purchases made on the card are billed to the customer at the end of the month. Mastercard also offers prepaid cards, where customers can add funds to the card without connecting it to their bank account.

How do Maestro debit cards work?

Like other debit cards, Maestro cards are linked to a checking account and deduct the payment amount instantly from the account balance. They are NFC technology-enabled, so cardholders can make contactless payments for smaller purchases. For larger payments or cash withdrawals at ATMs, the cardholder must enter their 4-digit PIN or signature to verify the transaction.

Are Maestro cards secure to use?

Maestro cards are quite secure. Nearly every purchase must be verified with the user’s unique PIN or their signature, limiting the risk of unauthorized card usage. Any cash withdrawals made at ATMs must be PIN-verified as well.

How do I get a Maestro card with N26?

With N26 Smart, You, and Metal accounts, you can order a Maestro card for free right in your app. Standard account holders can order a Maestro card for a one-off delivery fee of €10.