Starting from March 1, 2015, MasterCard officially began handling credit card transactions by its American cardholders in Cuba – the first U.S. credit card company to do so. However, the range of establishments accepting credit cards is limited, and many travelers have reported difficulty using U.S. MasterCards. In fact, we haven’t found a venue in Havana that accepts U.S. credit cards. There are expectations that other U.S. card issuers, including Visa and American Express, may soon begin honoring transactions in Cuba. We would still like to see one work.
So if you are American, bring cash to exchange at airports and banks for Cuban currency. Don’t rely on plastic.
MasterCard and Visa cards issued by banks outside of the U.S. are already accepted in Cuba, but many establishments (e.g. nearly all paladares) don’t take cards at all. ATMs are in all major cities in Cuba and work with non-U.S. bank cards.