New EC cards: what Sparkasse customers should now pay attention to

The Sparkasse has new bank cards. Two previous functions are no longer available with the new card. CHIP explains what affected customers need to know.
Many customers will receive mail from the Sparkasse in the coming weeks and months. The letter not only includes a new EC card, but also an important note. The bank is thus announcing the quiet death of the money card and the GiroGo payment function. Consumers can then no longer use either of the prepaid services with the new EC card.

This is behind Geldkarte and GiroGo

GiroGo is also a contactless prepaid payment function that will no longer be used with the new EC cards. This allowed Sparkasse customers to quickly pay for smaller purchases of up to 25 euros. You simply held the card close to the cashier's terminal. The amount is debited within seconds – a PIN number or signature is not required. The function will be replaced by contactless payment using a Sparkasse debit card. In many cases, a PIN number is also not required for amounts under 50 euros.

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Why are GiroGo and the Geldkarte discontinued?

The Geldkarte is a prepaid payment function that started nationwide in 1996. Banks thus offered a first alternative to small change. However, the function did not really score with consumers.
Customers will find the well-known money card symbol on almost every Girocard (formerly EC card). According to statistics from the German banking industry, consumers paid a total of 119.2 million euros with this payment function in 2012. In 2016 it was 96.8 million euros.

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This tells you whether you already have the new EC card
Consumers who received a new Sparkasse card last year can check on the back whether they can still pay with a bank card – or not.
The function is no longer used across the board. Little will change for Sparkasse customers. In some everyday situations, however, it could happen that those affected can no longer buy cigarettes or parking tickets from machines with their EC card.
Operators are upgrading their devices, but replacing them could take some time, especially in rural areas. Consumers should either have small change with them, especially for the parking ticket, or use apps on their smartphones.

The article also appeared on Focus Online.

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