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BANKING : BELGIAN PAYMENT SYSTEMS TO MIGRATE TO MAESTRO.

In 2008 the Belgian payment systems Bancontact and Mister Cash will be replaced by Maestro. That was the announcement made byaBanksys, which manages the national payment system, and Belgian banksa on 18 May.

The switch to Maestro will be the first step of a project that should allow Banksys to fully comply with the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA), which aims to facilitate cross-border payments across all networks by 2010.

Maestro, which is owned by Master Card, was selected because it is the most widely used payment system and is already recognised by most Belgian payment cards. This will spare banks the trouble of remanufacturing millions of cards.

The switch to Maestro will go unnoticed by customers because the electronic chips in their cards are already compatible with Maestro terminals. For most consumers, paying with the card in 2008 will be as easy as when they pay abroad today using the Maestro network.

Banksys insists that the Belgian systems will remain secure and efficient since all of the functions of the Maestro card are widely supported around the world. For example, the standard used by Maestro to read the payment card is the so-called EMV standard (Europay MasterCard VISA) - one with much wider use than the existing national standard.

Once the Belgian network migrates efficiently to Maestro, the banks and Banksys have promised that they will grant access to other competing systems by 2010 so that consumers are able to use their own payment network as envisaged by the SEPA project.

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) EU project will enable citizens to make payments in the euro-zone as national ones by 2010.

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Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUBL
Date:May 22, 2006
Words:273
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