5 Dec 2023 22:11

Cuba begins accepting Mir card payments

MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax) - Payments made with cards that use the Mir payment system have begun to be accepted by shops, hotels, restaurants and other retailers and services in the Cuban resort towns of Varadero and Havana, the payment system said in a statement.

Beginning in March 2023, Russian tourists in Cuba could only use their Mir cards to withdraw cash from ATMs. This option has now been used around 3,000 times.

"Now payments are possible like at home, at practically every terminal in the resorts of Varadero and Havana. And the near-term plan is to ensure, together with our partners, the acceptance of our national cards across all of Cuba," Vladimir Komlev, the head of the National Payment Card System (NSPK, the Mir card operator), was quoted by the press service as saying.

Payments with Russian cards are cleared at an exchange rate set by the Mir system. "We aim to make it as advantageous as possible," Komlev said.

As of September 2022, Mir cards were accepted in ten countries; by the end of the year, the number had dropped to eight. NSPK hid the list of partner countries after the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control released a statement warning non-U.S. financial institutions that by concluding agreements with NSPK they risked bypassing U.S. sanctions at the expense of an expansion of the Mir service area outside Russia.

NSPK was set up by Russian authorities in 2014 after the imposition of a number of anti-Russian sanctions. The release of the first cards was announced in December 2015.