Cuba operates a dual currency system. Visitors usually use the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), whereas locals use the Cuban Peso (CUP). The CUP is worth much less than the CUC; check transaction sums carefully. US dollars aren’t accepted as legal tender; you’ll be charged 10% commission to exchange them.
Check with your bank before you travel to confirm that your debit, credit and ATM cards will work in Cuba. If your bank can’t confirm this then you should bring sterling or euros in cash, or travellers cheques. Bank notes should be in good condition with no tears, rips or markings. American Express travellers cheques aren’t accepted in Cuba.
Travellers cheques and credit cards drawn on American banks aren’t widely accepted. There are virtually no ATMs available for drawing cash against Cirrus or Switch cards. Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes can’t be exchanged. Credit card transactions, including withdrawals from ATMs, are subject to local commission charges of approximately 3% in addition to your bank transaction charges.
Don’t change money anywhere other than at Cadeca exchange houses, large hotels or banks, due to the prevalence of forged currency. Always check transactions carefully. Where possible ask for small denomination bills. Ignore individuals offering exchange facilities to avoid queues.