Bancontact/Mister Cash system to be replaced

19th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 May 2006, BRUSSELS — Belgian banks have decided to replace the national card payments and cash withdrawal system Bancontact/Mister Cash with the Maestro system in 2008.

19 May 2006

BRUSSELS — Belgian banks have decided to replace the national card payments and cash withdrawal system Bancontact/Mister Cash with the Maestro system in 2008.

The Belgian federation of financial firms Febelfin said on Thursday the switch is the first phase of a planned transition to a Europe-wide payment system,

"With 600 days before the deadline of 1 January 2008, it is time for action," the chief of the payment system Paysys, Antoon Termote, said.

Belgian banks said the choice to replace the Bancontact/Mister Cash (BC/MC) system with Maestro was the simplest choice.

The switch is designed to ease national and international payments across the euro-zone for both the public and retailers.

Belgian cardholders can retain their present card with a Maestro function, newspaper 'De Tijd' reported.

Maestro is the international payment card that belongs to the MasterCard group. It allows Belgian residents to buy goods in shops while abroad or withdraw money from cash machines.

Consumers without a Maestro card — who, according to Termote, represent a negligible number — will need to have their card adjusted.

Payment systems such as Proton and the safety of payments will not be affected. Machines will only need to be adjusted.

Retailers are also expected to profit from the switch because there will be no difference between Belgian and European consumers as they will be able to use the same card to pay for their goods at a cashier.

The EU aims to create a European payments system by 2010, to be called the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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