Currency in Cuba

Money and Currency in Cuba

Money in Cuba

Cuba began to phase out the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) on Jan. 1, 2021. It has brought an end to the dual currency system that was operating on the island since the 1990s. As of 24 August 2022, the Peso Cubano - CUP (or MN - moneda nacional) is the only official currency in Cuba. It is officially valued at around 120 CUP = 1 USD. If you are going to exchange USD$ for CUP through official channels, an 8% conversion fee will apply. This makes the actual rate 110CUP = 1USD. All other accepted currencies have a 2% conversion fee. IMPORTANT: Electronic transactions, such as credit card purchases and ATM withdrawal, are still using the 25CUP:1USD exchange rate.

Exchanging foreign currency

Below you will fine a complete list of foreign currencies that are currently accepted for exchange in Cuba. These currencies can generally be exchanged at the CADECA and at some banks (the surcharge is usually around 2-3%, but 8% for USD$) We strongly recommend that you only exchange small amounts of CUP currency at any one time.

Here is the list of foreign currencies that are currently accepted for exchange in Cuba.

United States Dollars – USD$*

British Pound – GBP*

Canadian Dollar – CAD*

Swiss Franc – CHF

Japanese Yen – JPY

Mexican Peso – MXP

Danish Krone – DKK

Norway Krone – NOK

Sweden Krona – SEK

Euro – EUR*

* Preferred Currencies

Where to exchange currency

You can exchange the accepted foreign currencies (see list above) to CUP’s at banks, exchange houses (CADECA's), airports, some hotels and shopping malls. Exchange rates are of course subject to change depending on fluctuations in the world markets. Our advice is that you consult with your local guide before exchanging currency in Cuba.

CADECA's

The official currency exchange houses in Cuba are known as CADECA's. CADECA's are found in a wide network of locations across Cuba and provide the following services: 1) Exchanging cash between accepted foreign currencies and CUP. We recommend the best options are exchanging Euros, Canadian Dollars, and British Pounds in Cuba. 2) Exchanging traveller’s cheques to CUP (not recommended) 3) Credit Card - Cash advances (Visa and MasterCard). Provided your card is not linked to a US bank you should be able to withdraw CUP at a CADECA. Cirrus and Maestro are not accepted at all in Cuba. If you urgently require cash, there is a CADECA at the airport however we don't recommend changing money at the airport. On your day of departure, you can exchange your left over CUP to another currency at the airport. It is illegal to take Cuban currency outside of Cuba.

ATMs- Credit/Debit Cards

Automatic Teller Machines (ATM's) should work in Cuba for Visa, Mastercard, and American International Service (AIS). Please make sure you have a pin number setup for your credit/debit card No Card issued by a US financial institution will work in Cuba. You should double-check that your bank is not associated with a US financial institution as many are without this being advertised publicly. Visa credit cards issued through the following banks WILL NOT work in Cuba: 28 Degrees Westpac (Australia) Travelex Citibank St George (Australia) You should have a back-up plan for obtaining cash in Cuba in case your credit/debit card does not work.

What is an MLC Card

Due to hygiene concerns, the Cuban government would like to avoid cash transactions, so are offering prepaid debit cards at the airport. Known as MLC cards, these cards are being sold in denominations of $200, $500, and $1000. MLC stands for Moneda Libremente Convertible (Freely Convertible Money), which in essence means foreign currency. Although MLC can be EUR, USD, GBP, etc, it is treated as if it's a currency itself. Bank cards are used for transactions in MLC. Many of the better stoked stores in Cuba only accept MLC. You can have the remaining balance of your MLC card refunded at the airport upon departure.

Tips and Recommendations

• Bring EURO, USD, GBP or CAD to exchange in Cuba. • Bring plenty of cash. The monetary unification process Cuba has recently undertaken could bring some confusion and instability. Cash is king in Cuba at the moment (preferably Euro€) • It is not wide to rely on ATMs for all your money needs • Only exchange small amounts of money to CUP at any one time. • USD is permitted but has a higher exchange fee attached to it. EUR is the recommended currency to bring • Contact your bank/financial services provider before you travel to check that your debit/credit card will work in Cuba. Rules and regulations can change quickly • You should always have a backup for accessing cash in Cuba . Even if your financial services provider says your card will work, don't assume this to be 100% true. Don't rely on one source of money. A combination of cash and cards is best. • Take more cash than you think you will need. Cuba often surprises travellers with how expensive it can be and you don't want to get caught short. Prices for food and drink have double or even tripled in recent years • Most private restaurants, bars and guesthouses will prefer payment in foreign currency • Make sure you exchange any remaining CUP you have at the airport prior to your departure.

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