Maestro and Mastercard are both bank cards issued by Mastercard Inc., so it’s easy to get them mixed up. They can both be used to make card purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs, but there are also significant differences between them.
Maestro — just a debit card
With a Maestro card, you can use it at ATMs with the red-blue Maestro logo and in person. Maestro is only issued as a debit card, which means it’s tied directly to your account, and the money is posted immediately after a transaction.
The Maestro card is often mistakenly called an EC (electronic cash) card, which is only issued by the German Banking Industry Committee (Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft).
Payment with a Maestro card is either authorized by entering your PIN or by signature. ATM withdrawals are only authorized by PIN.
Mastercard — debit, credit or prepaid
Mastercard is one of the most widely accepted cards in the world, and can be issued as a debit, credit or prepaid card, depending on your bank and type of account. It’s accepted at 36 million locations in over 210 countries.
Every N26 Mastercard is a debit card, like we’ve described above. Payment with a Mastercard is either authorized by entering your PIN or by signature. ATM withdrawals are only authorized by PIN.
Why are there two cards?
N26 bank account) users who opened their account in Germany can use a Mastercard and an optional Maestro card. We offer both just so you can have two widely accepted payment methods in Germany, and around the world.