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Florida Bank to Offer First Credit Cards for Use in Cuba

FILE - Stonegate Bank President David Seleski shows off a credit card during an interview in Havana, Cuba, June 8, 2016.

A small regional Florida bank is making history.

Stonegate Bank is issuing the first credit card that can be used in Cuba since Washington and Havana normalized relations.

"In the past, everyone's had to use cash, which is difficult. ... It's dangerous. It doesn't really make a lot of sense," Stonegate CEO David Seleski said Tuesday in Havana. "By having a credit card now, people will be able to use corporate travel down here, just like any other country."

The card will be a limited-edition MasterCard. Stonegate will issue only 1,000 cards initially. Each card will feature artwork by celebrated Cuban painter Michel Mirabal.

The Cuban government will waive the usual 10 percent penalty on dollar exchanges for those using the Stonegate cards.

Seleski said he hopes more U.S. banks will issue cards that can be used in Cuba to ease the burden on the new wave of travelers expected to visit the island in the future.