US travellers to Cuba can now use debit cards on the island

American travellers to Cuba can ease their worries over carrying large wads of cash with the announcement this week that they will be able to use debit cards on the island.

Stonegate announced this week that they will provide credit cards for US citizens visiting Cuba

Stone gate Bank  announced this week that they will provide credit cards for US citizens visiting Cuba Image by Håkan Dahlström / CC BY 2.0

With the new relationship between the two countries opening up borders again, Stonegate Bank has become the first financial institution to offer a debit MasterCard to US citizens in Cuba as part of the U.S government new travel arrangements.

US approves new relationship with Cuba which has opened the borders more to tourists travelling there

US approves new relationship with Cuba which has opened the borders more to tourists travelling there Image by Stuart Burns / CC BY 2.0

According to the Miami Herald, the card will be accepted in up to 10,000 hotels, restaurants and other commercial concerns. Stonegate hopes to expand their service there next year.

David Seleski, president and CEO of Stonegate, said this would include approving credit and debit cards.

Under President Barack Obama relations between the two countries have improved substantially since last December's agreement

Under President Barack Obama relations between the two countries have improved substantially since last December's agreement Image by (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Since a return to normal relations began between the two countries, President Obama has given the green light to a limited commercial opening that allows expanded travel both ways. On top of that, trade with private Cuban entrepreneurs has been initiated while joint ventures to improve Cuba’s Internet and telecom infrastructure has also been approved.

During the summer, Stonegate concluded a deal with Cuban bank , Banco Internacional de Comercio, to begin a correspondent banking relationship – the first link between two institutions since diplomatic relations were resumed. The President of Cuba Educational Travel, Collin Laverty said the debit card deal was a major step forward in resuming financial normality between the nations. While Americans were allowed to use cards on the island from the start of this year, no US bank had offered any such cards facility until Stonegate this week.

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