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Vatican cleared to resume credit-card, ATM transactions

February 12, 2013

The Vatican Museums have resumed accepting credit-card transactions, and ATM machines in Vatican City are working again, after the Vatican reached an agreement with a Swiss firm to process the bank-card transactions.

The Swiss Aduno group agreed to process bank-card transactions at Vatican locations, breaking a stalemate that had occurred when Italian banking officials refused to handle the transactions, claiming that the Vatican has failed to meet new European standards to prevent money-laundering.

The Vatican, which has worked for months to meet European banking standards, was caught off guard by a January 1 announcement that Italy’s central bank would no longer process bank-card transactions from the Vatican. The Vatican had hoped to persuade Italian officials that new internal controls have satisfied the immediate concerns of security officials, and Deutsche Bank Italia—which had handled bank-card transactions inside the Vatican—should be allowed to resume processing those transactions. The agreement with Aduno apparently resolves the problem, however.

The freeze on credit-card and ATM transactions had complicated life for tourists at the Vatican and cut into sales at the Vatican Museums, post office, and other shops. The resort to cash-only business reportedly cost the Vatican roughly $40,000 a day.


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