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Nancy Parode

Vatican Museums, Post Office, Souvenir Shops Go "Cash Only" in Banking Snafu

By January 3, 2013

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If you are planning a visit to Vatican City in the near future, bring your ATM card and plan to get cash before you get in line for the Vatican Museums.

USA Today and other news sources are reporting that credit and debit card transactions within Vatican City have been suspended because the tiny nation has not fully complied with European Union-mandated anti-money laundering requirements. While the Vatican has, in fact, taken steps toward compliance, the Bank of Italy has blocked electronic transactions until the requirements are fully implemented.

This suspension affects tourists visiting the Vatican Museums, buying stamps at the Vatican Post Office and purchasing souvenirs in the shops at St. Peter's Basilica.

There are ATMs within a few blocks of the Vatican Museums, but some have elaborate metal detection systems in place. To use one of these ATMS, you must place all metal objects into a locker (provided - look near the entrance), step into an airlock-like metal detector, then, if all goes well, enter the ATM area.

There are conventional ATMs - no airlock required - a couple of blocks farther away from the Vatican Museums, if your ATM card does not work or you can't get past the metal detector.

Once Vatican City has reached full EU compliance, it is likely that these restrictions will be lifted very quickly.

Photo © Aidas Zubkonis

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