Cuban Financial Institution Won’t Issue New Debit Cards Because of Shortages of Many Products

Debit cards are used to receive remittances and to make purchases in the hard-currency stores that have recently opened for the sale of food and personal hygiene and cleaning products.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, August 16, 2020 — The financial institution Fincimex announced that beginning this Monday, it won’t accept new requests for AIS (American International Service) debit cards, used to receive remittances and make purchases in the hard-currency stores that were recently opened for the sale of food and personal hygiene and cleaning products.

“It’s reported that beginning this next Monday, August 17, we find it impossible to accept new requests for AIS cards. The rise in demand has surpassed our capacity to import certain consumables,” the company said on its official Facebook page. Fincimex belongs to the Cimex Group, which is managed by the Armed Forces.

Fincimex’ announcement contrasts with the company’s official statement four days ago, said a client on social media, who was worried about the delay in the delivery of his card. “They’re issuing 4,000 cards daily. Right now there isn’t any problem with the products.”

Last June, Fincimex, which was created as a company in Panamá 25 years ago, was sanctioned by Washington and included on the blacklist of firms with which the U.S. is prohibited from doing business.

The penalty from the U.S. Government heightened concern for many clients, but Fincimex said that “all the cards requested before August 6 are ready”. In the communication this week, the company explains that the cancellation of the service has given them incentive to “become better organized for the present high demand”.

“We are working to make the interruption as brief as possible. We shall return,” says the text.

However, complaints have leaked out about the cards, and many clients are upset about Fincimex’ inefficiency. “Why don’t they pick up the phone when you call? I need to know if I can get my card and not make an unnecessary trip,” asked Yami Romero in a comment. “The lines are dead,” was all the company answered.

“My husband spent days trying to request one for me and it was impossible. I wrote to them, called, and no one answered,” complained Dayanna Castillo.

The opening of hard-currency stores with food and personal hygiene and cleaning products forms part of the package of measures that the Government presented as a necessary decision before the economic crisis that the country is experiencing in the middle of the pandemic.

Before the controversy that this news generated, Government officials say that the income collected in these stores will allow them to improve the offers in the Cuban Convertible peso and Cuban peso markets, which are in constant crisis with the shortages.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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