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Queen of Makeovers Meets Her Maestro.

LONDON, July 16 /PRNewswire/ --

- With picture

"Stan" the penguin was on hand at London Zoo to present Anna Ryder Richardson with the UK's first Maestro debit card.

In a colour change familiar to the 'queen of makeovers', Switch debit cards will now have a new look as the familiar green Switch logo is replaced with the vibrant red and blue of Maestro.

Most Switch debit cards have already been co-badged with Maestro, from now onwards, new and replacement cards will no longer carry the Switch logo. Most cardholders will have Maestro-only cards issued by mid-2005.

Within the UK, Maestro cards will operate in exactly the same way as Switch has always done. For cardholders, the move to Maestro will give them the benefit of an international debit card, with global access to their bank accounts at 10 million outlets and over 900,000 cash machines.

The change will also give UK businesses access to around 530 million Maestro cardholders from across the globe. One in two in-bound visitors from eight of the top 10 tourist markets already has a Maestro card which, in most cases, is their card of choice.

Says Anna Ryder Richardson: "I never used to leave home without my Switch card, and now my card has changed to Maestro, there are even more reasons to keep it firmly in my wallet. Some of the best interior inspirations can come while shopping abroad, and now I have no excuse not to buy them!"

"Switch has been highly successful as a domestic card," commented Roger Alexander, Chief Executive of S2 Card Services, the management company for the Switch and Maestro brands in the UK. "Two thirds of all card payments in the UK are now by debit card and Switch/Maestro accounts for half of them - a spend of GBP59 billion last year. But in today's world we need to offer a truly international card and the switch to Maestro gives us exactly that".

Consumers will see a new TV marriage this month as the loveable Switch and Maestro penguins tie the knot. Miss Switch and Mr Maestro will become Mr & Mrs Maestro in a wedding ceremony in their homeland of Antarctica. The TV ads can now be seen on TV screens across the UK.

More information about the migration from Switch to Maestro can be found at: http://www.switchmaestro.co.uk.

Notes to Editors:

A high resolution photograph is available to the media free of charge at http://www.newscast.co.uk (Tel: +44-(0)20-7608-1000)

All change but no change

- UK Maestro transactions will work in exactly the same way as Switch

- S2 Card Services is licensed by MasterCard to operate Maestro in the UK

- S2 is owned by the same UK banks that have always run Switch

- Maestro cards can be used at all outlets which carry a Switch acceptance logo or a Maestro logo

Maestro opens international doors

- UK merchants will now have access to around 530 million overseas cardholders

- 1 in 2 visitors to the UK from major tourist markets have a Maestro card

- UK cardholders can now access 10 million outlets and over 900,000 ATMs world-wide

Key dates

- Maestro-only debit cards start to appear from July 2004 and the Switch logo will be completely removed from most cards by mid-2005

- New stickers (decals) featuring the Maestro logo are now being issued to retailers by banks

- Solo debit cards are unaffected by the change

For more information visit www.switchmaestro.co.uk

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Roger Alexander, please contact: Sarah Morgan/Czarina Charles-Howell, Starfish Communications, Tel: +44-(0)20-7323-2121, Fax: +44-(0)20-7323-0234, email: morgan@star-fish.net or charles-howell@star-fish.net. Out of office hours mobile numbers: +44-(0)7880-727-780 or +44-(0)7867-503-588. For further media information on Maestro or MasterCard please contact: Amy Waldron/James McDonald, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, Tel: +44-(0)20-7638-9571, Fax: +44-(0)20-7638-0233, Email: james.mcdonald@citigatedr.co.uk or amy.waldron@citigatedr.co.uk
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 16, 2004
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