Belgian Banks kill magstripe

Credit card
Credit card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A press release by FEBELFIN (Belgian financial services association) yesterday (here in Dutch) states that from 17 Jan 2011 Belgian Maestro cards can no longer be used outside of continental Europe.

Today I received a letter from my bank confirming the announcement and blaming it on the need to ‘protect my transactions from fraud’. Essentially this means that I now have a choice if travelling to the US (or EMV countries like Canada, South Africa or Malaysia…) to either change cash before going or to use a credit card.

This appears to have been made possible by a change in the Maestro Europe Rules (Global rules chapter 19, section 6-8 for the interested few) which now allows selective authorisation on the basis of geographical location. But what does this mean for global interoperability? Is this the beginning of the end of global schemes, more pressure on the US or just a sledgehammer to crack peanut?

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