Europay International said its German members have introduced "edc," the European debit card tied in with MasterCard International's Maestro program.

With the edc logo added, 42 million German bank cards -- 36 million Eurocheque cards and six million domestic debit cards -- can be used internationally for direct payments out of deposit accounts.

Europay, partly owned by MasterCard, also recently announced gains for edc/-Maestro in Italy, bringing the program to more than 57 million debit cards and 273,000 point-of-sale terminals in Europe.

"The logic of expanding the utility of a domestic debit card to an international one is clear," said Bernd Rodewald of Zentraler Kreditausschuss in Germany.

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