After a test phase more than two years after sanctions caused the US-based corporation to shut down operations on the communist-run island, Western Union announced Thursday that it is significantly extending money transfer services to Cuba.
Customers in the United States are limited to sending a maximum of $2,000 each day, but those transactions can now be completed at more than 4,400 retail locations in all 50 states, according to a statement from Western Union.
It also announced the availability of digital send service through WesternUnion.com and the Western Union mobile app.
As during the test phase, the money can only be deposited as US dollars into three Cuban banks: Banco Popular de Ahorro, Banco Metropolitano S.A. and Banco de Credito y Comercio (Bandec).
Cuba is in the grip of its worst economic crisis since the 1990s, with unprecedented numbers of its inhabitants fleeing the island in recent years.
Remittances from the United States were expected to account for 6% of Cuba’s GDP until 2020, when then-President Donald Trump’s government sanctioned Fincimex, Western Union’s in-country subsidiary, for allegedly assisting the Cuban military.
In early 2022, Cuba’s government established a separate agency to handle international money transfers, which the administration of Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has subsequently permitted to receive US payments.