US MasterCards will soon work in Cuba

MASTERCARD in March will begin processing transactions made on US-issued cards in Cuba, becoming the first major credit card company to do so since Cuba and the United States started to normalize relations.

MasterCard said in a statement Friday that the move, effective March 1, follows renewed guidance from the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Though most US tourists are still barred, the US government this month eased travel and trade restrictions to the communist island.

The government allowed certain approved categories of Americans, including journalists, scholars, artists and athletes, to visit Cuba without asking for a special license.

America’s general embargo of Cuba, however, remains in place until Congress votes to scrap it.

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, US President Barack Obama said the shift in Cuba policy “extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people.”

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