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Cuba's one and only ATM (for Cubans only)
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atm.jpg
ylw-text.gif Cuba has a growing network of ATMs (in conjunction with Italian and Spanish banking systems) throughout Cuba. Cubans, as well as foreigners, use them with debit cards, but also with (non-U.S.) credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard, as well as Transcard (a Canadian company). An ever-increasing number of Cubans are turning to the Transcard as a fast, efficient, and less costly alternative to receiving remittances via Western Union. The problem with ATMs in Cuba, as with the entire telecommunications system, is that they don't have the reliability that we are accustomed to here in the U.S. One can obtain money and make purchases using a U.S.-issued Mastercard (but not Visa) because the transactions are now routed via Canadian and/or European banks and are thereby "masked" from the U.S. banking system. However, my statements clearly indicate that the purchase or withdrawal was made in Cuba. Go figure!

Borrowing money is possible, but you can only do so if you earn at least 300 pesos a month, and you have two co-signers for your loan. There is no interest charged on loans, and you have from three to five years to repay it. Since most Cubans earn about 200 pesos a month, and few earn more than that (except for police, who earn about 800 a month), borrowing money is beyond most people's capabilities. Even so, there isn't much to do with borrowed money anyway, since one cannot "invest" it into an income-generating business, which would be used to pay off the loan. The one exception to this is small family-owned businesses, like restaurants and room-rentals, or even farms. But borrowing money is not culturally accepted, and capitalistic economic models are not very well understood. (Universities are just now beginning to teach theories of capitalism, so change may come sooner than expected.)

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Object Cycle: Unknown ()
Object Name: atm.jpg
Copyright Notice: Photo (c) www.danheller.com
City: Havana
Editorial Update: Unknown ()
Urgency: Unknown ()
Country-Primary Location Name: Cuba
Credit: Dan Heller
Caption-Abstract: Cuba has a growing network of ATMs (in conjunction with Italian and Spanish banking systems) throughout Cuba. Cubans, as well as foreigners, use them with debit cards, but also with (non-U.S.) credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard, as well as Transcard (a Canadian company). An ever-increasing number of Cubans are turning to the Transcard as a fast, efficient, and less costly alternative to receiving remittances via Western Union. The problem with ATMs in Cuba, as with the entire telecommunications system, is that they don't have the reliability that we are accustomed to here in the U.S. One can obtain money and make purchases using a U.S.-issued Mastercard (but not Visa) because the transactions are now routed via Canadian and/or European banks and are thereby "masked" from the U.S. banking system. However, my statements clearly indicate that the purchase or withdrawal was made in Cuba. Go figure!

Borrowing money is possible, but you can only do so if you earn at least 300 pesos a month, and you have two co-signers for your loan. There is no interest charged on loans, and you have from three to five years to repay it. Since most Cubans earn about 200 pesos a month, and few earn more than that (except for police, who earn about 800 a month), borrowing money is beyond most people's capabilities. Even so, there isn't much to do with borrowed money anyway, since one cannot "invest" it into an income-generating business, which would be used to pay off the loan. The one exception to this is small family-owned businesses, like restaurants and room-rentals, or even farms. But borrowing money is not culturally accepted, and capitalistic economic models are not very well understood. (Universities are just now beginning to teach theories of capitalism, so change may come sooner than expected.)

By-line: Dan Heller
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Keywords: south america, island, caribbean, latin america, island nation, politics, atm, havana, cuba
Location: Havana, Cuba
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Keywords: south america, politics, islands, caribbean, latin america, vertical, atm, havana, cuba, island nation