The Central Bank of Cuba notified that cash can be drawn from international currency accounts linked to debit cards that are used to pay in new stores selling in US dollars (USD), provided the physical currency is available at the bank branch where the operation will be carried out.
Banks cannot establish an exact amount of days for customers to withdraw the requested dollars, because Cuba does not issue that currency, explains the text published this Tuesday in Cubadebate.
The banking institution, however, will try to respond to requests for cash “in the shortest possible time” and will guarantee customers the balances of open accounts, according to the note.
The debit cards linked to these accounts can also be used for other services available in the bank that issued them, in the electronic payment of services, the purchase in stores that sell their products in Cuban convertible pesos (CUC), and the cash withdrawal from that convertible currency or Cuban pesos (CUP) in ATM machines that have the CADECA exchange option.
When making withdrawals, the tax imposed on the US dollar is not applied, which is maintained when depositing cash in that currency.
On the other hand, the note asserts that the AIS-USD card, issued by the state-owned Financiara Cimex, is not designed to make cash deposits, so it only allows bank transfers through companies associated with the financial company itself, in Europe and the United States.
In late October about 10,000 people had gone to the 93 branches of the Metropolitan Bank, in Havana, to open accounts in dollars, but only 13% of them made cash deposits.
The availability of bills in USD and other foreign currencies depends on the exchanges made by customers at the bank branches and Exchange Offices (CADECA).
In the case of transfers from abroad, Cuba will apply the exchange rate of the day for its conversion to USD.
For example, if the transfer in euros is received, the bank’s EUR/CUC exchange rate of 1,09480 (Cuban exchange rate for bank transfers) is applied, which means that for every 100 EUR the owner of the account receives 109.48 CUC. To accredit the account, the CUC/USD exchange rate is applied, which in this case would be CUC 109.48 multiplied by the corresponding commercial margin for this type of operations, resulting in an amount of USD 108.40 accredited to the customer’s USD account.