In a press release, Popular said the Mastercard credit cards of its two banking subsidiaries, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico and Popular Community Bank, can be used at any of Cuba’s authorized merchants and ATMs throughout the country. The bank noted there is more than 11,000 authorized merchants.
“Popular is excited about this development. The ability to use these credit cards in Cuba will facilitate travel and promote the interaction between our clients in P.R. and the U.S. with the citizens of Cuba,” said Ignacio Alvarez, president and chief operating officer of Popular, in the press release.
The company noted that, before visiting Cuba, credit card customers have to make sure that they have an active credit card and that they are traveling under one of the categories authorized by U.S. regulations. Those include religious and professional purposes. Customers also have to complete a document that acknowledges the card may only be used in connection with one of the 12 categories authorized by U.S. regulations.
Popular may be the second bank to issue a credit card for use in Cuba, but it’s not the only financial firm eyeing the market. In June, global payments company Western Union announced it is bringing mobile and online money transfers to Cuba through the Western Union app and website. With over 15 years of working in the Cuban market, Western Union said the move reflects its efforts to bring its global omnichannel strategy to the Cuban diaspora in the United States. Consumers will see a new “Send to Cuba” option while using WU.com or the mobile app in the U.S., enabling them to send and track money transfers right until the funds are paid out to the recipient in Cuba’s local currency. Western Union confirmed it has a network of 420 agent locations in Cuba and is represented across every one of Cuba’s 16 provinces and 168 municipalities through its principal agent, Fincimex.