ATMs in Havana allow cash withdrawals in pesos using MIR cards issued in Russia
Cuban banks have started accepting MIR cards, Russia's alternative to Visa and Mastercard, the payment system announced on Tuesday.
Several banks in Havana have installed ATMs displaying the logo of the MIR system, and offering the option to withdraw cash using Russian bank cards in Cuban pesos.
"The MIR payment system continues to work on expanding the acceptance of the cards in friendly countries including Cuba," the network's press service noted, adding that it is now focused on enabling transactions using MIR cars in Cuban shops, restaurants and other retail outlets.
Russia launched direct flights to Cuba in December, as the Caribbean country is a popular destination for Russian tourists. Moscow and Havana are seeking to boost their economic ties, with a Russian trading house opening in the Cuban capital.
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Russia started developing its own national payment system when the US targeted the country with sanctions in 2014. Last year, as Moscow was hit by further sanctions in response to its military operation in Ukraine, including the blocking of many Russian banks from SWIFT, the government started promoting the domestic system as a reliable alternative. Russia's SPFS ensures the transfer of financial messages between banks both inside and outside the country.
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