If a trip to Vatican is on your to do list, you’ll need plenty of cash for all the tickets, souvenirs and food. The world’s tiniest state has suspended all bank cards payments and emptied ATMs after it failed to comply with EU money laundering legislation
Even the Vatican’s most visited landmarks and sights, like the world’s famous Vatican museum, are obliged to accept cash only. The measure also places restrictions on the pharmacy, the post office and a few shops.
It would not be such a problem for scores of tourists, if only they could take cash from ATMs. However, ‘hole in the wall’ machines have been emptied.
“A lot of tourists don’t have cash on them, so they have to get euros and don’t know where to get them,” an American tourist Fluger William Hunter, who was standing in line for the Vatican Museum, was quoted by media.
The ‘cash only’ rule came into force on January 1st and will be maintained until further notice after the Bank of Italy pulled its authorization of Deutsche Bank Italia, which has handled bank card transactions in the Vatican for 15 years.
The Italian central bank stated that the Vatican does not respect international anti money laundering norms and an Italian-registered bank can therefore not operate on its territory, local media reports.
Now the Vatican is trying to find a non-Italian bank that will be able to provide the banking services. A spokesman for the Vatican assured there would be a quick solution as talks were already taking place with other providers.
The Vatican has been trying to implement measures to detect and discourage money laundering and even hired a Swiss expert on the subject a few months ago.
Italy has tightened its own rules in recent years as it’s struggled to stop money laundering, mainly from Italian-based organized crime groups.