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Italy Blocks Electronic Payments at Vatican

Posted at: 01/03/2013 10:42 AM
By: FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) - It's "cash only" now for tourists at the Vatican wanting to pay for museum tickets, souvenirs and other services after Italy's central bank decided to block electronic payments, including credit cards, at the tiny city state.

The Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported Thursday that Bank of Italy took the action because the Holy See has not yet fully complied with European Union safeguards against money laundering. That means Italian banks are not authorized to operate within the Vatican, which is in the process of improving its mechanisms to combat laundering.

The Vatican says it's scrambling to find a non-Italian bank to provide the electronic payment services "quite soon" but declined to discuss Bank of Italy's concerns.

The central bank had no immediate comment on the situation.

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