Banks in Cuba begin accepting Russia’s Mir Payment System

Banks in Cuba begin accepting Russia's Mir Payment System

HAVANA, March 14th  Banks in Cuba have begun accepting the Mir payment system, the Russian alternative to Visa and Mastercard. According to TASS, multiple banks based in the Cuban capital of Havana have commenced the process, with ATMs featuring the logo of Mir during fund withdrawal.

At present, the approximate ruble to Cuban peso exchange rate is about 1 to 1.5, minus the operation charges.

The Mir payment system was initially slated to launch in Cuba towards the end of 2022 amid the influx of Russian tourists that are vital to Cuba’s economy. Earlier this month, Cuban authorities said that the process of beginning the Russian Mir payment card system was in its final stage.

“On the Cuban end, the work to put the Mir payment system into operation is almost concluded,” said Russian Ambassador Andrei Guskov, according to the Central Banking website.

As per Guskov, the Russian payment system is imperative for Cuba as the country attempts to evade the impact of a decades-long American embargo by creating “links that evade the financial organizations of unfriendly states”.

Cuba follows Mongolia and Egypt

“Cuba is working to launch Mir payment system, this will make it easier for Russian tourists to pay for services, buy gifts and souvenirs with the card,” Cristina Leon Iznaga, tourism adviser at the Cuban Embassy to Russia, said earlier this month, Interfax reported.

Cuba opening its doors to the Russian payment system comes after Mongolia and Egypt decided to do the same. Just last month, TASS reported that Mongolian banks could soon begin servicing Mir cards, regardless of the countless Western sanctions faced by Russia’s financial services.

Meanwhile, Moscow’s invasion led to Visa and Mastercard walking out of the Russian market last year. Soon after, American Express and Japanese payment firm JCB also followed suit.