Credit Cards and ATMs
Most hotels, larger restaurants, and major shops accept credit cards, as long as they are not issued or processed by U.S. banks (British travelers should check that their cards can be used, as about 20 percent of British-issued cards are outsourced to U.S. companies). Credit card transactions are charged 11 percent commission (comprising an 8 percent levy on currency exchange, plus a 3 percent conversion fee).
You can use your non-U.S. credit card to obtain a cash advance up to CUC5,000 (CUC100 minimum). U.S. citizens must travel on a cash-only basis as they are legally prohibited from using credit cards in Cuba—period—including those issued by foreign banks.
Automated teller machines (ATMs) at major banks dispense CUC to Cubans with cash cards. Many ATMs are linked to international systems such as Cirrus (non-U.S. Visa designated cards work, but not MasterCard). Use them only during bank hours, as they often eat your card.
Problem with your card? Contact Fincimex (Calle L, e/ 23 y 25, Vedado, Havana, tel. 07/835-6444, Mon.–Thurs. 8:15 a.m.–noon and 1–4:30 p.m. and Fri. 8:15 a.m.–noon and 1–3:30 p.m.), which has branches in major cities.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition