German Girocards are usually co-branded with MasterCard's Maestro/Cirrus or VISA's V PAY logo, allowing cardholders to use them in other European countries. As another co-badging option, combined Girocard/JCB cards will be introduced in 2012.[dated info]
Originally, German banks formed an interbank network connecting virtually all German ATMs. The network used Eurocheque guarantee cards as ATM cards and did not have a name or trademark of its own. In 1991, the electronic cash debit card service was introduced using the same cards. The cards used for all three payment methods were simply known as Eurocheque card (German Euroscheck-Karte).
When the Eurocheque system was disbanded at the end of 2001, the cards could no longer use the Eurocheque brand. However, German banks continued to use the EC logo, which was simply re-interpreted as "electronic cash". Consequently, the cards were colloquially known as EC card (German EC-Karte). However, the ATM network still did not have a trade name.
In 2007, Zentraler Kreditausschuss introduced "Girocard" as a common name for electronic cash and the German ATM network.
There are several cooperations reducing or waiving these fees:
- EUFISERV is a European compact which includes the Sparkasse saving banks in Germany as to waive the fees for customers of other local branches.
- Bankcard-Servicenetz is a cooperation of most co-operative banks to waive or reduce the fees for other co-operative banks.
- Cash Group is a cooperation of major private banks, which mutually waive the fees.
- CashPool is a cooperation of smaller private banks (including many virtual banks), which mutually waive the fees.
Some banks participate in more than one cooperation and therefore offer free cash withdrawals at more than 85% of all German ATMs. In addition, some large chain stores such as REWE, PENNY Markt, toom Baumarkt and Netto Marken-Discount offer cashback at the till. This service is free of charge but requires a minimum purchase amount of 20 euros. Cashback is limited to 200 euros per day.
- Postbank: V PAY, Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- Sparkasse debit card leaflet, Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- VR Bank debit cards picture gallery, Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- ING-DiBa: Paying with your card, Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- Commerzbank Banking Portal, Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- New Cooperation in Payments Industry. German Banking Industry Committee Signs Frame Agreement with JCB, Retrieved October 13, 2011.