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Vatican reverts to a cash only economy

By Chris Dawson January 4, 2013 - 5:55 am

Whilst the rest of the world is fast turning their back on plastic in favour of electronic payments, the Vatican has taken a step back in time and far from accepting e-money can’t currently even accept plastic. Cash in the Holy See is currently the only form of accepted payments.

It might seem strange coming just a month after the Pope got online and sent his first tweet, but it’s not intentional. The Bank of Italy which previously handled card payments in the Vatican blocked all banking services as the Pope hasn’t currently complied with European Money Laundering Regulations, which came into effect five years ago in 2007.

Apparently if you’re trying to make a purchase you could be standing in a rather long queue of the frustrated faithful and tourists who are caught on the hop. After all it’s a long time since most people wanted to wander around with a wallet full of that quaint folding stuff and a pocket full of change.

The Vatican is officially a City State founded in 1929, which consists of a wall locked enclave within the city of Rome. If you are traveling there make sure that you at least have enough cash for a bus ride out. Still at least with cash there’s no risk of a chargeback, just the odd dodgy fake €20 note.

  • 4 years ago

    Surely in the Vatican the dodgy notes are likely to be denominated in Euro not Pounds Sterling?

    Years ago before my medical problems caused me to have to stop I used to take a Specialist Book Stall around the Specialist Events such as Traction Engine Rallies. At that time it was just about impossible to take plastic in the middle of a muddy field. Now of course the technology exists. However I wonder if even today the stall holders at such as Traction Engine Rallies would much rather you turned up with “quaint folding stuff and a pocket full of change”.

    Even when I was doing stalls at Traction Engine Rallies I would often get customers asking if I took plastic. But after I explained that I could not they would go away and come back later with cash if they wanted the Book. It always caused me to wonder where they got the cash from because the muddy field was usually miles away from the nearest ATM machine.

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