Can I use travelers’ cheques and credit cards in Cuba?March 7, 2009 | | Print |
Yes. If you’re bringing credit cards, make sure they’re payable against banks that do business with Cuba. Usually your bank or credit card server can provide this information in response to a direct question. Cuba won’t accept credit cards paid against US banks as, to date, the US banks don’t pay.
In general, Cuba prefers Visa and MasterCard, but note that if you’re coming from Canada, be aware that MasterCard issued by Canada Trust / Toronto Dominion is not accepted in Cuba, as their “corporate family tree” links these cards with the City Bank Group in the U.S. It’s recommended that you check with your bank against which your credit card is payable, before coming to Cuba, for any changes of policy.
- Some of the hotels in Vedado, a popular tourist area in Havana, which will provide CUC against a Visa or MasterCard credit card, are: Nacional (8am-11pm daily, CADECA); Riviera (8am-7pm); Presidente (8am-7:30pm) and Vedado (9am-9pm). Call first in case the days and/or hours have changed. Other hotels around the city will do the same. Call first to confirm.
- Cuba charges an additional commission of 3% for the use of credit cards within the country.
- To report a lost or stolen credit card, there is an office where this can be reported located in the La Rampa side, under Restaurante Polinesia, of Hotel Habana Libre, Calle 23 e/ L y M, Vedado (Havana). There is no name on the office door. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm, or you can call 835-6444 during these same hours. If you need to report a lost or stolen credit card after 5pm or on the weekend, you can call the following numbers: 835-6405, 835-6422 or 835-6466. This office can put a block on your missing credit card both within and outside Cuba. When you call the numbers, you will hear the name “FINCIMEX”; don’t worry, you haven’t called the incorrect number.
If you’re bringing travelers’ cheques, make sure they’re issued against a bank that does business with Cuba. You also need to bring the receipt you received when you purchased the cheques, showing both date of purchase and the numbers of the travelers’ checks.
In Cuba, the ONLY bank – including all its branches located around the country – where you can cash travellers’ cheques is the Banco Financeiro Internacional (BFI), one of Cuba’s international banks. Many of the larger hotels also have a small BFI branch on site which will also cash travellers’ cheques. In Vedado, these include Hotel Habana Libre, Hotel Nacional (here, the BFI is located near the pool nad is open 8am-11pm daily), and Hotel Riviera. You can check with other hotels to find out if they offer this service.