Larry Nussbaum plans to launch a gift card that will compete with Stonegate’s™ Cuba Mastercard: American plus all Cuba bound travelers, without restrictions.
In an agreement finalized with the Cuban government, Nussbaum, of the Miami-based company International Port Corp. (IPC) has introduced the reloadable Club Malecon gift card in time for the holidays. Cuba Journal has yet to confirm such an agreement.
Starting October 1, The Club Malecon card will be available for travelers and can also be issued to Cuban residents, unlike Stonegate Bank’s™ MasterCard.
“It’s a very unique and special product that we’ve been negotiating for a very long time to get these features approved with the Cuban banking authorities,” Nussbaum said in a report by the South Florida Business Journal.
Last year, IPC received U.S. Licenses from both the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Commerce Department for direct passenger ferry service from Florida to Cuba.
And this year, the company opened an office in Havana, taking advantage of new U.S. rules that allow companies with licenses to conduct business with Cuba to establish a physical commercial presence on the island.
According to Nussbaum, the Club Malecone card will be accepted at all Cuban ATMs, CUBAN money exchange stores (CADECA) and point of sale (POS) installations throughout the island. The exchange rate on this card will be US$1 = 1 CUC (Cuban convertible peso), and will eliminate the 3% currency exchange fee and the current 10% Cuban surcharge when Americans exchange U.S. currency for CUCs. In addition, the card will have no hidden fees, no minimum, a US$10,000 limit, and a PIN code to increase security. First-time users must apply for the Club Malecone card through the company’s website.
The Club Malecon gift card is a closed-loop card, said Nussbaum, in a recent interview with Cuba Standard. (Unlike Stonegate’s™ card), the Club Malecon card is not affiliated with Visa, MasterCard, or any other credit/debit marketing company.
The Club Malecon gift card is an independent marketing company whose product is sold in USD and can only be used in Cuba for cash withdrawals and purchases in Cuba where the merchant has a POS (point of sale) processing machine. The card can only be used by American and any international traveler to Cuba, and as a remittance card for the use of Cuban-American relatives and friends in Cuba.
In addition, all funds not used by a card holder can be refunded upon return from Cuba without penalty. The product was approved with the cooperation of the Cuban National Bank and clears through the IPC (International Port Corp.) bank account at the BFI Bank in Cuba.
Unlike the Stonegate Bank’s™ MasterCard, the Club Malecon Card does not require opening a bank account with a minimum deposit.
In addition, Nussbaum said that the Club Malecon card complies 100% with Cuban Banking and Security Laws. As a result, the Club Malecon Card will guarantee that 100% of all money loaded into the card will be available for use. The Club Malecon Card guarantees against fraud and identity theft.