More and more banks are introducing Visa and Mastercard debit cards as a replacement for the Girocard. But according to consumer advocates, paying does not work smoothly everywhere.
According to consumer advocates, owners of the so-called debit cards from Visa and Mastercard have reported numerous problems with the acceptance of the payment cards. Especially in shops within Germany, in hotels, abroad or to receive cash at the cash register, the new debit cards were sometimes not accepted, said Ramona Pop, board member at the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations (VZBV), on Monday in Berlin.
Debit card owners have also described acceptance problems with authorities, in clinics, in online trading or the TÜV. In addition, customers complained about the lack of functionalities such as age verification, the possibility of using the ChipTAN procedure or the option of opening doors to self-service areas at banks.
Often a substitute for the Girocard
More and more banks are introducing the debit card from the US groups Visa and Mastercard as a standard product, which is often intended to serve as a replacement for the Girocard (formerly: EC card). According to the VZBV, 1745 “descriptions of problems” were received after a consumer appeal. The magazine “Der Spiegel” had previously reported on it.
According to the VZBV, the problems described are partly due to poor or insufficient information from the issuing banks. The descriptions of the problem “are in absolute contradiction to the sometimes flowery promises of the banks, according to which the debit cards from Visa or Mastercard would combine the functions of a giro and credit card,” said Pop.
Visa and Mastercard are surprised
According to “Spiegel”, Visa points out that acceptance in Germany has increased significantly. It is on par with national payment systems. At Mastercard, it is said that the “gaps in acceptance” cannot be understood. Work is being done to ensure that the cards “are also accepted by the few remaining small and micro dealers in Germany”.
The savings banks emphasized that they continue to offer their customers a Girocard and combine it with a debit card from Mastercard and Visa. “Unlike many competitors, we have not replaced the Girocard with debit cards from Mastercard and Visa, but simply pack both payment methods on one card,” said the savings bank association DSGV. This means that customers can continue to pay everywhere – including in authorities, in smaller shops and wherever only the Girocard is really accepted.