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Credit card use in Cuba?

Niagara
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177 posts
5 reviews
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Credit card use in Cuba?

I was wndering if credit cards are accepted at

- hotel (for day trips, gift shop)? We're at Sandals

- airport (stores, restaurants)?

- stores and restaurants in Varadero and Havana?

I understand that you can only get CUCs once in Cuba, and cannot exchange them back. We'll likely change just a bit at a time as to not have too much left over, but would like to use our credit card if possible for some things.

Newton Aycliffe...
Destination Expert
for Cuba, Rafael Freyre, Guardalavaca, Holguin
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97,332 posts
61 reviews
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1. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

You can exchange your left over CUC before you leave Cuba if you so wish.

Your credit card has to be issued by a bank with no connection to the US if you wish to use it in Cuba.

Not too many places accept payment by credit card so make sure you always have cash.

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Camaguey, Cuba
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11,073 posts
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2. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

Excursions purchased from a tour operator can usually be paid by credit card, but like Belalgio said, only if your card is not affiliated with a US compagny. For the rest, I would also use cash.

Toronto, Canada
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5,120 posts
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3. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

Any credit card from one of the 5 Major Banks in Canada should work just fine in Cuba. It's the credit union cards, MBNA, Capital One type cards that will not work. So stick to the big 5 for Cuba travel.

You can exchange money to CUC any number of times, but what hurts is that when or if you change it back, the spread between buy and sell rates is rather large.

For example, today the rates are.....

CAD Dólar Canadiense

1.32541 = 1 CUC to buy

1.24155 = 1 CUC to sell

What this means is that you pay 1.32 Canadian each time you buy a CUC, but if you have any left over you only get back 1.24, or a loss of about 8 cents per CUC. This is why people don't like to exchange back.

You can check the daily rates here at the Cuban Banco Metropolitano website.

http://www.banco-metropolitano.com/tasasn.htm

Have a great trip.

Lively, Ontario
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154 posts
17 reviews
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4. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

I had no trouble getting my TD Visa to be accepted but none of my husband's cards were accepted due to affliation with American banks. This being said, there were frequently issues with phone and internet lines making it difficult to use credit. No problem purchasing CUC as there was a "bank" right in the lobby. Be advised there is a hefty charge for traveller's cheques and a much lesser exchange charge for canadian cash. They also charge you a second time to convert back to canadian if you buy too much. Learned this the hard way!

Niagara
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177 posts
5 reviews
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5. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

Thanks everyone. That makes sense. We have Canadian credit cards, so that's all good. I'll make sure we have cash when we go off the resort. And wow, I didn't realize their money was worth more, ouch!

Toronto, Canada
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886 posts
17 reviews
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6. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

Both CIBC visa and BMO mastercard work fine..... However some places might not accept cards so have some cash around just in case.

Calgary, Canada
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309 posts
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7. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

Has anyone tried using a Royal bank Visa?

Newton Aycliffe...
Destination Expert
for Cuba, Rafael Freyre, Guardalavaca, Holguin
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97,332 posts
61 reviews
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8. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

I've done a search for you and Royal bank Visa is OK to use in Cuba.

Nova Scotia, Canada
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14,317 posts
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9. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

Royal Bank Visa is not at all a problem. Happy vacation!

k-ver
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233 posts
3 reviews
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10. Re: Credit card use in Cuba?

For the life of me I can't figure out how $CUC is worth more than $CDN. What does that say about Canada. Guess we can't change it

Kev