Destinations

Tourism to Vatican City still in the dark ages with visitors unable to use credit cards

Jan 03, 2013 10:05 am

Skift Take

The Vatican is sure to move quickly to comply with the EU’s anti-laundering rules in order to provide electronic payments, but will likely take a small hit in tourism income in the meantime.

— Samantha Shankman

Free Report: The State of Student Travel

Andrew Medichini

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during the Angelus prayer he celebrated from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Andrew Medichini


It’s “cash only” now for tourists at the Vatican wanting to pay for museum tickets, souvenirs and other services after Italy’s central bank decided to block electronic payments, including credit cards, at the tiny city state.

The Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported Thursday that Bank of Italy took the action because the Holy See has not yet fully complied with European Union safeguards against money laundering. That means Italian banks are not authorized to operate within the Vatican, which is in the process of improving its mechanisms to combat laundering.

The Vatican says it’s scrambling to find a non-Italian bank to provide the electronic payment services “quite soon” but declined to discuss Bank of Italy’s concerns.

The central bank had no immediate comment on the situation.

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