Banco Popular-issued MasterCard Can now Be Used at Cuba ATMs
SAN JUAN – MasterCard credit cards issued by non-U.S. Banks, as well as those from Stonegate Bank and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico can now be used for all types of transaction at automated teller machines (ATMs) in Cuba’s capital, Havana.
The announcement was made by Irma Margarita Martínez, first vice president of the Central Bank of Cuba, during the first conference on international money transfers in the neighboring island.
Stonegate, a small Florida bank, is the only U.S.-based financial entity authorized to issue credit cards to be used in Cuba. According to Tania Fernández, in charge of Cuban matters at the bank, some 500 new credit cards have been issued by the institution for clients to use in Cuba.
Cuba Central Bank’s Martínez noted that following having solved pending financial and legal issues between Cuba and the U.S., and thanks to Cuban authorities in charge of the transaction processing, it was possible to make the historical announcement.
This new service adds to existing ones in place at Cuban businesses and banks through point of sale (POS) terminals, whose use the Cuban Central Bank official assured would gradually be expanded throughout the island.
Although the authorization to use the dollar for transactions between the island and the U.S. was granted in March—before President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba—no transaction has yet been completed because, as explained by Martínez, a Cuban banking institution must first have a corresponding bank account in the U.S., which the U.S. government has yet to approve.