Maestro, MasterCard International's on-line point of sale debit program, will be available to travelers and residents of the Korean peninsula by yearend.

So far, 20 Korean banks and three card companies have chosen Maestro.

With the addition of Korea, Maestro's network extends to 49 countries with nearly 135 million deposit access cards committed worldwide.

The Korean agreements will add more than 10,000 Korean retailers to the network, and over 10 million deposit access cards bearing the Maestro mark.

In the United States, 8.5 million automatic teller machine cardholders have access to the Maestro network, while new member financial institutions are soon expected to add another 10 million.

Supermarkets, gas stations, fast food restaurants, and florists are among the 27,050 U.S. merchant locations now connected to Maestro.

Any U.S. consumer holding an ATM card with the Maestro logo will be able to make purchases at member Korean retailers with a local bank ATM card, providing instant access to checking account funds. The reverse will be true for Korean travelers.

Maestro International is a joint venture initiative between MasterCard International and Europay International. -- Valerie Block

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