MIAMI – Cubans run a cash-centric economy and their official currency is the Cuban Convertible Peso.
The U.S. Embassy in Havana warned travelers there is usually a 10 percent penalty in addition to a service fee on exchanging U.S. dollars.
"Remember to bring enough cash with you to last you your whole trip," a U.S. embassy representative in Havana said.
American Express travelers checks also result on commission charges and a 10 percent exhcange penalty. And when it comes to credit cards and prepaid cards with U.S. banks, many travelers with approved travel plans are still not able to use them in Cuba.
Stonegate Bank's debit MasterCard remains reliable. The bank, which has a financial relationship with the Cuban government, requires cardholders to submit a U.S. regulations' compliance form every time they travel.
Cubans still struggle with having a reliable network of ATMs. And when the systems work, there are privacy issues to consider with their intrusive political machine.
Classified Worldwide Consulting hires veterans from law enforcement and military intelligence to provide businesses and individuals with risk analysis on foreign countries. Their representatives in Cuba warn of "corruption, over-regulated markets, poor infrastructure and the ever-present Cuban Intelligence apparatus."