Donna Faye
Contributor

I am traveling to Cuba in a few weeks and would like to purchase Cuban pesos before I go. Can I purchase them from USAA and if so, can I exchange any remaining pesos for US dollars upon my return?

6 REPLIES

Thanks for reaching out, @Donna Faye. We don't handle international currency, as we are not an international bank. However, you can use your debit card to obtain foreign currency at any foreign ATM at the airport before you reach Cuba. Once you return, you may need to visit a local bank to convert the currency back to US Dollars. I also recommend adding a Travel Notification to your account. Remember, while adding the Travel notification does not guarantee authorization of charges, it does allow our Fraud team to anticipate and look for charges from your itinerary. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip. - Cathleen

And is it possible to take out money from an ATM or pay by card in Cuba?

@Beau Mason thank you for your message regarding your upcoming  travel . Please understand that Cuba is listed as a restricted country by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). You are able to still use your debit card there. You do want to add a travel notification online. My best recommendation is to ensure you have some funds on hand prior to traveling in Cuba just in case you do have issues while there. -Colleen 

Colleen,

 

I'm sorry, however your information is incorrect. You CANNOT use a US based debit card in Cuba. Absolutely not. In my trips through the country, few places took cards at all, and ZERO of them took US based cards.


If you had a Barclays or European based bank card, there would be some luck in touristy areas such as Varadero.

@SeaMTX, my apologies.  You are correct, you are not able to use US based credit cards in Cuba. However, you can convert cash into local currency at a bank there or at the airports.  Hope this helps.

You really should do more research before heading to countries like Cuba.

 

There are 2 currencies in Cuba, the CUP (Cuban Peso) and the CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso). Unless you get out of Havana or Varadero, you won't likely see the CUP. The CUP is what the locals use and is roughly 10% of the value of the CUC. The CUC is tied to the Euro, so your best bet is to get a lot of Euros before heading to Cuba and convert those. There is a Machina de Change, or currency converter kiosk in Jose Marti airport, just outside of baggage claim by the taxis. If you try to exchange US Dollars, you will not only pay the exchange fee, you will pay a 10% penalty for using US currency. If you take Euros, you save that fee.

 

Good luck, and I encourage you to do some more research on the internet...none of your ATM cards will work, especially not USAA.