American Bank Issues First Credit Card for Use in Cuba
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On Tuesday, a small bank from Florida announced its intention to issue the first United States credit card intended for use in Cuba, making it easier than ever to work on an island largely cut off from the financial system in America.
According to The Associated Press, Stonegate Bank, based in Pompano Beach, Florida, announced that its new MasterCard will allow travelers to make purchase at state-run businesses and private restaurants with point-of-sale devices.
Previously, visitors to Cuba were forced to bring cash and exchange it either at state institutions — there is a 10 percent government penalty — or with locals. While the card will help customers at stores with point-of-sale devices, Cuba will not allow cash advances at the moment.
Unfortunately, many of the 10,000 point-of-sale devices in Cuba are often out of service. After a 54-year trade embargo, though, the government is beginning to ease its stance on the use of American debit and credit cards on the island, as well as financial transfers between the two countries.
Stonegate Bank opened an account for the Cuban government and became the first institution to issue a U.S. debit card for use in the once forbidden country. Officials from the bank have announced that around 100 American individuals and businesses have already opened debit cards accounts, with nearly half being education institutions and travel companies.
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