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The Banco Central de Cuba (Central Bank of Cuba) has given the green light for MasterCard to be available in Cuban ATMs throughout Havana. Two banks, Florida-based Stonegate Bank and Puerto Rico's Banco Popular, have already announced they will issue cards which will be compatible with Cuban ATMs.
"This is going to be huge for American companies trying to do business down here," Stonegate president David Seleski said.
According to AP, Stonegate had issued a U.S. based debit card for use in Cuba last year. More than 100 American individuals and businesses, mainly travel and educational groups, have opened accounts with the Stonegate debit cards approved for Cuba, according to the AP.
The second bank that has been authorized to do MasterCard operations in Cuban ATMs is the Puerto Rican bank, Banco Popular.
As El Nuevo Dia reports, the Mastercard bank cards from Stonegate and Banco Popular can only be used for cash withdrawals associated with the categories allowed under the current U.S. embargo, which includes educational and cultural exchange trips, not individual tourism.