HAVANA – Starting Monday, Havana ATMs will accept MasterCard cash advances, including those from Stonegate Bank, the first U.S. bank authorized to provide this service on the communist island, and the Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, the Cuban Central Bank, or BCC, said.
BCC vice president Irma Margarita Martinez confirmed that MasterCard is already being accepted at Cuban sales points along with Visa, which have been authorized on the island for some time, speaking at the first Conference on International Monetary Transfers being held Monday in Havana.
“That possibility is starting now that the pending financial and legal issues have been resolved and thanks to the efforts of the Cuban entities tasked with processing MasterCard and the foreign provider who is facilitating the handling of its operations for us,” she said in a BCC communique made available to the press.
The Cuban bank said that the service, which at first will be offered only in the capital, “will be expanded to the entire country” in the future.
In addition, she confirmed her willingness to “continue expanding” the types of U.S.-bank-issued credit cards authorized for use in Cuba.
She said that currently banking transfers from the United States to Cuba are still being done via third countries due to restrictions imposed by Washington’s economic, financial and trade embargo on the island.
So far, the Florida-based Stonegate Bank is the only U.S. bank authorized – since July 2015 – to maintain a commercial relationship with a Cuban bank, the Banco Internacional de Comercio.
Stonegate Bank said that a limited edition of 1,000 MasterCards will be issued to people who want to use them in Cuba.