Stonegate Bank of Pompano Beach, Fla., has issued MasterCard credit cards for use in Cuba. It is the first bank in the U.S. to do so.

“This has been a work in progress over the last nine months. Hopefully, more U.S. banks will allow their customers to use their cards in Cuba, thus helping alleviate the burden on travelers to the island,” said Dave Seleski, Stonegate president and CEO.

In addition to personal credit cards, the bank is issuing corporate, purchasing, payroll and prepaid cards within the next 30 days.

Stonegate’s World or World Elite MaterCards for Cuba feature a stylized illustration of the U.S. and Cuban flags by Cuban artist Michel Mirabal, symbolizing the historical shift in relations between the two countries. Only 1,000 of the limited-edition cards will be issued.

The credit card will permit travelers to charge purchases at state-run businesses and some private restaurants equipped with point-of-sale devices.

American visitors have had to bring cash to Cuba and exchange it for Cuban currency at state institutions that impose a 10% fee.

The new card carries no annual fee and offers a 0% introductory interest rate for one year and after that a 13.5% to 14.5% annual rate.

Stonegate has provided banking services for the Cuban government since July 2015. That move simplified matters for tour operators with programs to Cuba, allowing them to pay for visas for their clients by check or credit card rather than in cash.


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