MasterCard lifts block on US transactions in Cuba

MasterCard has opted to lift a block on US bank card transactions in Cuba after the States relaxed restrictions on trade and travel with the Caribbean nation.

The card issuer removed the block following guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the company said.

Obama announced the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries last month, which, among other changes, allowed Americans to use their credit cards in Cuba. US institutions will be permitted to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions. American companies will also be authorized to enrol merchants and process credit and debit card transactions for travel-related and other expenses, Bloomberg reported.

MasterCard and Visa cards issued by banks outside the US are already permitted for use on the island. Visa has yet to clarify whether it will be joining its rival to allow Visa cards to be used in Cuba.

MasterCard still blocks US card transactions in Cuba, as well as transactions in Iran, Syria and Sudan from cards issued anywhere in the world.

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