Thursday, January 17, 2013

Vatican officials to meet with Italian bankers on card-transaction freeze

Vatican officials will meet next week with Italian bank-security experts, with a goal of ending a freeze on bank-card transactions inside Vatican City. 

The Vatican, which has worked for months to meet European banking standards for preventing money-laundering, was caught off guard by a January 1 announcement that Italy’s central bank would no longer process bank-card transactions from the Vatican. 

The Vatican hopes to persuade Italian officials that new internal controls have satified the immediate concerns of security officials, and Deutsche Bank—which had handled bank-card transactions inside the Vatican—should be allowed to resume processing those transactions.

The freeze on credit-card and ATM transactions has complicated life for tourists at the Vatican and cut into sales at the Vatican Museums, post office, and other shops. 

The resort to cash-only business is costing the Vatican an estimated $40,000 a day.

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