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Debit Cards in Cuba


I remember seeing something a while ago re debit cards but forget what it said. I know Scotia Bank was in Cuba years ago and are “looking at the possibility of doing business there again”. Are debit cards on Canadian Banks able to be used there ?


Short answer: No.

Take cash or use your credit card after informing them you will be in Cuba.


The longer answer is that until our Debit Cards carry the Visa or MasterCard logos as dual Charge/Debit, they won’t work.


Well Cibc debit cards have the visa logo on it, it is not an acutual visa but works like one only it debits the account instead of the visa. Would that work?


From a wise man at an other forum:
“Debit cards with the VISA logo are usually accepted by your tour rep to pay for trips as well as purchasing goods at outlets that accept debit cards. They can be used in ATM’s (if you can find one and it is working) or to draw money from a Cadeca or Bank. MASTERCARDS will not be accepted in ATM’s but, as with VISA cards, so long as they are issued by a non US based bank, can be used to draw cash at the counter of a Cadeca or Bank.”

I’d call CIBC and ask to be sure.
It has to have a Visa account link to work in Cuba.


It has to have Visa or Mastercard to work in Cuba. (Though Mastercard don’t work in ATMs.)

I am sure there have been reports on TripAdvisor of people who used Canadian debit cards in Cuba.

Visa is just the payment system - it does not define how the bank treats that payment at the end.


Here Endeth the Debit Card Question for now. Thanks beardo!!


I work for CIBC, and our debit cards are called CIBC Advantage debit card. In Canada, they are used as a regular debit card, but the advantage is… Online, Over the phone, or Internationally you would say it’s a VISA…and it uses the VISA technology, but the transaction comes out of your chequing account.


Hey brunette, Thanks for your expertise.
Does your card have the Visa logo? :wink:
Do you know anyone who used it to withdraw CUCs at an ATM in Cuba? And where?
Is it accepted as security by car rental companies here or in the USA?
(Most car rental firms need a $5000 free credit they can put a hold on as a deposit.)


Thanks for helping. :sunglasses:


I had the CIBC debit/visa card. Worked well for ordering things online, booking hotels etc.

Only problem I ran into is that hotels could not authorize a hold on your card when you checked in. So they had to actually withdraw the funds from your account. Then when you checked out, they would process them back in. But like a credit card, took a few business days to get back in.

So while it works well in certain cases, I would be hesitant to rely on it for travels internationally.

Now this was a couple of years ago when the card first came out, perhaps it has changed since then.


Just came back last night after two weeks. No debit card but use your credit cards and cash


I booked an excursion as well as bought my rum from the resort shop with my CIBC visa debit.