US Embargo reaches into Canadian wallets
Posted: 26 January 2008 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Saskatchewan News Network

Canadians visiting Cuba have been facing troubles using their MasterCard credit cards, partly because the Bank of America purchased the MasterCard credit card business of Regina-based CUETS Financial last year.

Betty Riess, a corporate spokesperson for the Bank of America, said she doesn’t know exactly how extensive the problem is but the company has received inquiries about Canadian visitors in Cuba being unable to use their credit cards.

CUETS is a major producer of MasterCard credit cards in Canada, as it provides that service for credit unions across the country. With that CUETS Mastercard business now owned by the Bank of America, Riess said those MasterCard transactions are being processed in the U.S.

But the U.S. has a trade embargo with Cuba, implemented not too long after Fidel Castro seized power almost 50 years ago.

That embargo makes it a crime, under U.S. law, for the Bank of America to process credit card transactions from Cuba, Riess said in a phone interview Friday.

And that means people who possess MasterCard credit cards processed by the Bank of America cannot use them in Cuba, Riess said.

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