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I'm a US Citizen with Mexican residency. If I were to open a Mexican bank account, could I use my Mexican debit card in Cuba? Or would this somehow be traceable back to me when I re-enter the US, and get me into trouble there?

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  • According to an article on wikitravel, "All tourists should know that bank cash cards (bank-issued debit cards) from all countries are useless." I would presume that "all countries" includes Mexico. Feb 19, 2014 at 0:55
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    @GregHewgill: The next few sentences contradict that statement. "In most cases, International VISA- and Mastercard-branded global payment (debit) and credit cards will work"
    – Flimzy
    Feb 19, 2014 at 1:00
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    I think "bank-issued debit card" and "global payment card" are different things. Feb 19, 2014 at 1:01
  • "global payment" is another name for "debit", from what I understand. Maybe there's a distinction between a bank-issued debit card and a VISA-branded debit card (although in my experience, every debit card I have had has been both bank-issued and VISA-branded). In summary: I think my question still stands, and Wikipedia doesn't offer any clarity on the matter.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 19, 2014 at 1:03
  • @Flimzy - Unfortunately that is not always true. Most debit cards in Canada for example are not VISA branded and you must rely on matching the network name such as Cirrus, Maestro, Plus or VISA with the ATM you try in order for it to have some chance of working.
    – Itai
    Feb 19, 2014 at 4:02

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Long story short. I think what you're concerned about FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). The minimum amount required reportable by any foreign institution is $10,000, which means that if you keep under that amount in your Mexican account they technically don't have to report it but they still might anyway.

There is no requirement to report transactions on those accounts so your transactions in Cuba don't need to be reported to the US Government, whether or not they will find out about is a different story.

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    So it sounds like I would do well to ask any prospective Mexican banks about if and when they might report my activity to the US Government, if I want to be certain.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 19, 2014 at 14:28
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    @Flimzy Given how new this requirement is they might not even be able to tell you that correctly. But you can ask. :)
    – Karlson
    Feb 19, 2014 at 14:38

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