Travel money guide: Cuba

Debit, credit or cash? Get the right travel money product for your Cuba trip.

Strolling the streets of Trinidad, lounging on the beaches of Varadero and dancing late into the night in Havana are just some of the charms of Cuba, but so is staying in charming casa particulars and treating yourself to Cuban cuisine - which doesn't come free.

Make sure you have the right travel money products so you can make the most of your upcoming adventure. With two currencies, the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) and the Cuban peso (CUP), things can get a bit tricky, but finding the right money product to bring isn't.

What should I know about money for Cuba?

Compare travel money options for Cuba

Rates last updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
Skye Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Get 90 days interest-free, $0 foreign transaction fees and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
No foreign transaction fees on international purchases including international purchases online, together with a no annual fee.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Pay 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 6 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0% of transaction value
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.

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Rates last updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
ING Orange Everyday Account
Receive a rebate on any international transaction fees and international ATM fees when you deposit at least $1,000 a month and make at least 5 card purchases.
NAB Classic Banking with Platinum Visa Debit Card
$10 cashback on contactless purchases, $0 foreign transaction fee and complimentary travel insurance.
$10 monthly account fee.
Receive $10 cashback when you spend $1000 on contactless purchases. Complimentary travel insurance, transport accident insurance, purchase protection insurance and more when you meet eligibility criteria.
HSBC Everyday Global Account
No foreign ATM or transaction fees.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
Citi Global Currency Account
Hold up to 10 currencies.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free. Earn up to 2.25% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.

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Updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
AUD: $3.50, USD: $2.50, GBP: £2.00, EUR: €2.20, NZD: $4.50, CAD: $3.00, HKD: $20.00, SGD: $4.00, THB: ฿95, JPY: ¥260
Hold up to 10 currencies and lock in your exchange rate. No load, reload or transaction fees on purchases and part of a worldwide ATM alliance.
USD: $2.50, EUR: €2.50, GBP: £2.00, NZD: $3.50, THB: ฿80.00, CAD: $3.50, HKD: $18.00, JPY: ¥260.00, SGD: $3.50, AUD: $3.50, AED: 10.00
Get discounted rates on USD in Cash Passport's rates sale. Plus free global Wi-Fi and more. Offer ends on 13 December 2018.
AUD: $1.95, CAD: $2.00, EUR: €1.50, GBP: £1.25, HKD: $15.00, JPY: ¥160, NZD: $2.50, SGD: $2.50, USD: $1.95, THB: ฿70.00, AED: 6.50
Get the chance to win a share of 1 million Qantas Points for every $100 in foreign currency you load onto your Qantas Travel Money card plus earn up to 5000 bonus points.

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Updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
In Store, At Airport
Order over 60 currencies online at the best price against the Australian dollar and collect at one of over 130 locations across Australia.
In Store, At Airport
Get better rates for new travel money cards and travel money card reloads when you use our exclusive code: FINDER
In Store, Home Delivery
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia.

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How the different travel money products work in Cuba

Using a prepaid travel card

You won't be able to load Cuban pesos on a travel money card. A prepaid travel card with no currency conversion fee is one way to go, but there's no real point to these products in a country that uses an unsupported currency. You'll have to pay to either buy the card or load it, and some providers will put a margin on the travel card foreign exchange rate.

Don't take a travel card to Cuba. Have a look at the other types of travel money products we compare on this page.

Using a debit card

The Citibank Plus Transaction Account is usually the standout debit card to take overseas. However, you will have issues using a Citi issued card in Cuba.

If you're going to use a debit card when you're on holiday, paying the extra fee for currency conversion is probably going to be unavoidable.

You can't purchase Cuban money before you leave Australia, so you're going to have to make an ATM withdrawal at some point when you land.

Using a credit card

Visa and Mastercard credit cards will work in Cuba, you can use the Visa cash advance facility at Cuban ATMS. American Express, Diners Club, GE Money and Citi cards will not work in Cuba over the counter or at ATMs. It's advised you open an account with another institution if you plan on using your credit card to spend (and it's always encouraged to have credit as a backup).

Using a traveller's cheque

Don't worry about traveller's cheques in Cuba. Card providers can give you a full refund if you get your credit or debit card skimmed, and there are fewer places than ever before where you can get your traveller's cheques cashed.

Paying with cash in Cuba

Take as much cash with you in a currency that can be easily changed when you go to Cuba. Make withdrawals from your debit account and use your credit card for big purchases. There's anecdotal evidence that different cards will and won't work in different places, which is why it's important to have as much cash on you as possible.

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Should I bring a travel card, a debit card, a credit card or bring cash to Cuba?

A credit card and debit card combo is definitely the way to spend in Cuba. You should have no problem using your credit or debit card to withdraw cash from inside a bank, but you may have issues using ATMs on the street.

Mastercard-branded cards work for over-the-counter cash withdrawals only, and some brands of card won't work at all. American Express, GE Money and Citi credit and debit cards won't work due to their affiliation with the United States.

Although no prepaid travel cards currently support Cuban pesos, preloading a currency with a good history against the Cuban pesos could be beneficial. While there are travel cards that don't charge for currency conversion, it is important to consider the back-end fees, exchange rate and managing an extra account.

A quick summary of travel money options in Cuba

Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of using different types of travel money products in Cuba.

Travel money option Pros Considerations
Debit cards for travel
  • Save on overseas ATM fee when you withdraw
  • Emergency cash facilities
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month
  • Unlimited free withdrawals at selected banks
  • Fees. Currency conversion and international ATM fees
  • Can't be used over the counter
  • No emergency cash
  • No backup cards
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Pre-load and secure your exchange rate in multiple foreign currencies
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • No prepaid cards support the CUP
  • Reloading time
  • Local ATM fee
Credit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Access to funds up to your credit limit
  • Accepted worldwide
  • No currency conversion/ transaction fees
  • Benefits including rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Can charge high withdrawal and cash advance fees
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

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Exchange rate history (AUD to CUP/CUC)

Year Average annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Cuban Peso (CUP) Average annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC)
2012 27.05 1.02
2013 27.55 1.04
2014 23.62 0.89
2015 21.65 0.82
2016 19.35 0.73
2017 19.09 0.72
2018 20.69 0.78

*Exchange rates are accurate as of 1 January of each year listed above.

What are the currencies that can be easily exchanged in Cuba?

  • Canadian dollars (CAD)
  • British pounds (GBP)
  • Mexican pesos (MXN)
  • Euros (EUR)
  • US dollars (USD)
  • Japanese yen (JPY)
  • Swiss francs (CHF)
  • Tip: You'll need to a pay a fee for an entry visa when you arrive in the country, it's about $20 or 240 Mexican pesos.

A guide to Cuban banknotes and coins

Cuban banknotes are quite different to those we have in Australia so you may want to familiarise yourself with the notes before heading there:

Banknote Cuban Peso (CUP) Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC)


cuban1 cuc1


cuban3 cuc3


cuban5 cuc5


cuban10 cuc10


cuban20 cuc20


cuban50 cuc50


cuban100 cuc100

Buying Cuban pesos

You can't buy Cuban pesos in Australia, so you're going to have to wait until you get there to obtain local currency. When you arrive in Cuba, you can get your cash changed at the airport, the deal is better than what's on offer at Australian airports, or look for cadecas (money changers).

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How much pesos should I bring to Cuba?

Budget (Cheap) Midrange Luxury (High-end)
to-sleep Hotel room per night
Casa Particular (double room)
Hotel Nacional de Cuba Havana
(standard room)
food Real Cuban restaurant
Meal for two, no alcohol
7 to 13AUD
Meal for two with one alcoholic meal
39.76 to 59.65AUD
Meal for two with a bottle of wine
66.28 to 132.56AUD
bus Wa-Wa - local bus
Taxi (public)
6.62 to 33.14 AUD
depending on length of journey
Tourist Bus:
Viazul: Havana to Varadero
13.25AUD one way

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

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