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Google Checkout - the search giant's online payment system - will stop accepting payments from Maestro cards from next week.

From Monday Google Checkout users in the UK will have to pay with a Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard or a Solo card. Maestro is a debit card which claims 540 million card holders around the world.

Several Reg readers got in touch to complain about the change. In the last few days they had received emails similar to this one:

Thank you for using Google Checkout, the fast, secure way to shop at stores across the web.

As of 27th July, Maestro cards will no longer be accepted as a payment method by Google Checkout. You are receiving this notification because your default card is a Maestro card that will no longer be supported.

To ensure that your Checkout account is ready for purchases the next time you shop, you will need to select a new default credit/debit card. Accepted payment methods are listed at http://checkout.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en-uk&answer=105916

You may update your payment information now by clicking 'Edit payment methods' after signing in to your Google Checkout account at http://checkout.google.co.uk

If you prefer, you also have the option of updating your payment information when you make your next purchase.

While you will be unable to place new orders with Maestro cards, refunds and chargebacks for previous orders will be unaffected.

We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any further questions, please visit our Help Centre at https://checkout.google.com/support/?hl=en-GB

Kind regards, The Google Checkout Team

Maestro, run by Mastercard, did not respond to calls and emails at the time of writing.

Google were barely able to respond either. They sent us this statement: "We regularly review payment methods available in Google Checkout to ensure the best possible experience for both buyers and sellers."

The service launched in 2006 in the US and the following year in the UK and initially did well by undercutting PayPal's fees and offering discounts for buying Google AdWords. Back in March it came under heavy fire for upping charges and ditching the AdWords discounts.

It seems odd to dump a card from the service in this way. It seems even odder to do it in such a hurry - emails were sent out this week and the cards are being ditched on Monday, which will be a royal pain for businesses or individuals who use the service a lot.

There a thread discussing this issue here on Google's Merchant forums. ®

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