Cuban money has changed

The Cuban money you used in the past--the CUC--is now gone but Canadian, US and EU currency can be exchanged at your hotel or in a bank for the Cuban Peso.

You will receive 24 pesos to the US Dollar but the Black Market exchange rate is currently 50 pesos to the US Dollar. You decide.


Do not attempt to bring any of the old Cuban currency known as the CUC into Cuba. It is forbidden to do so  since this money has been withdrawn from circulation.

Where to Change Your Currency and Buy the New USD Card

You can change your foreign currency at the airport, at a CADECA or at a bank. They will give you Cuban Pesos, which is now the only accepted currency in Cuba.

Better quality food and goods are found in the MLC shops. To buy these goods you must purchase the new BANDEC Prepaid USD Card (see it below), either at the airport or at a bank.

Whatever currency you give to the clerk, they will put US Dollars onto your prepaid card. This is because the MLC shops sell their goods for US Dollars.

The shops are now known as MLC stores which means "moneda libramente convertible" or "freely convertible currency". 

This is now the only way you can buy goods in the Dollar stores, which are now known in Cuba as MLC stores. You cannot use actual cash--neither Pesos nor US Dollars in these stores.

If you exchange some of your currency for Cuban Pesos, you can use it for taxis, in restaurants, to buy street food or peso shop items. Owners of paladares and private rentals prefer to be paid in US Dollars.

  • Prepaid cards are issued by the Credit and Commerce Bank (BANDEC)
  • They are for use exclusively within Cuba
  • They are valid for the payment of goods and services within the commercial network of Cuba
  • The card is purchased in US Dollars (USD) and must contain a minimum of 200 USD and can also contain 500 USD or 1000 USD
  • If you use it for withdrawal of money on an ATM the amount withdrawn will be in CUP (Cuban Pesos)

The bank has no responsibility for the loss of any card. Printed cards have an expiration date. Any remaining funds in the card are not refundable in a foreign currency. The bank is not under any obligation to return any unused amount on the card

If you lose the card--contact the number 80201996 or go to any BANDEC branch.

If you have a credit card issued by a US bank:

American Express is reviewing the new regulations regarding use of American credit cards in Cuba. They hope to soon allow customers this choice.

People should contact their bank before traveling to ensure that their card will be supported there.

Where to find money exchanges NEXT >

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