THUNDER BAY – At the Vatican it is In God we trust, all others pay cash. That ages old saying now has significant at the Vatican in Italy. The Vatican City according to European Banks has not complied with new European Union law introduced to safeguard against money laundering. That has led to Italian banks suspending credit cards and debit cards from being used at the Vatican.
For tourists, that means visiting Vatican City requires that cash must be used for all transactions.
There are reportedly steps underway to remove ATM machines and card readers. The Vatican is assuring visitors that the moves are temporary and the suspension should be ended soon.
Local souvenir shops are accepting euros and dollars. However no card payments are to be made. Also, any tours bought online using credit or debit cards will be ending on January 15th.
At the heart of the issue, the Vatican bank, and the Institute for Religious Works have been part of an investigation in Europe over concerns over money laundering.
The Vatican has not commented on the Bank of Italy’s concerns over this issue. However Pope Benedict XVI is on record as promising to make the financial reporting of the Vatican more transparent.
Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world in terms of inhabitants and size. It occupies an area of 44 hectares. The borders are represented by its walls and the travertine pavement curve that joins the two wings of the colonnades in St Peter’s Square. Beyond the proper territory of the State, Vatican jurisdiction also covers some extraterritorial areas within and outside Rome.