U.S. credit cards are not accepted in Cuba. This is a remnant of the longstanding U.S. embargo against Cuba. Although many U.S. card issuers and most card networks have changed their policies to allow the use of U.S. credit cards in Cuba, Cuban infrastructure is not yet set up to accept them.
A few internationally-based banks with U.S. branches are currently authorized to issue credit cards for use in Cuba, including Natbank (Canada) and Banco Popular of Puerto Rico. Many international credit cards are accepted in Cuba, but not all of them, so it’s important to check with your card issuer ahead of time. But even if your card issuer says your card will work there, it’s best not to rely on one form of payment. Bring a backup that is also cleared to work in Cuba.
While it’s good to have a card that technically works in Cuba, it’s also worth considering how many places you’ll actually be able to use it there. Cuba is primarily a cash economy, so even if you have a credit card that works, it may not be of much use to you outside of an ATM. And if you plan on spending time outside of Cuban cities, you may not encounter an ATM at all. Plus, inconsistent internet access on the island can complicate credit card transactions, even with vendors that accept credit cards. Considering this, it’s a good idea to bring traveler’s checks or cash along with you.