- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

HAVANA (AP) - A small Florida bank will issue the first U.S. credit card intended for use in Cuba. That could make it easier for Americans to travel and work on an island largely cut off from the U.S. financial system, the bank announced Tuesday.

Pompano Beach-based Stonegate Bank says its Mastercard will be available Wednesday.

It will let U.S. travelers charge purchases at state-run businesses and a handful of private ones, mostly high-end private restaurants equipped with point-of-sale devices.

Until now, Americans have generally had to bring cash to Cuba and change it either at state institutions that impose a 10 percent penalty on the dollar or in informal exchanges with locals.

The card’s utility will be limited for the moment, however. Cuba is preventing cardholders from using them for cash advances.

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