Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bank of Italy Suspends Vatican Debit, Credit Card Payments

VATICAN CITY - The Bank of Italy suspended electronic payments in the Vatican City because the papal state doesn’t comply with international money laundering rules.

The central bank found in an inspection in 2010 that Deutsche Bank AG (DBK)’s Italian unit, which had been operating the papal state’s point-of-service payment services since 1997, didn’t have the authorization to operate in the Vatican City, a Bank of Italy official said. The central bank on Dec. 6 refused a permit request to Deutsche Bank SpA because the Vatican lacks required banking and financial legislation, the official said. A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman for Italy declined to comment.

Payments through credit and debit cards through one electronic-payment provider in the Vatican City were suspended on Jan. 1 as authorities are trying to find another bank provider, the Vatican press office said in a statement yesterday. The interruption to electronic payment services will be “brief,” the Vatican said. Cash withdrawals from machines operated by the Vatican bank IOR are not affected, a Vatican spokesman, who declined to be named, said.

The interruption affects Vatican museums, which had sales of 91.3 million euros ($118.9 million) in 2011 and more than 5 million visitors, according to a spokeswoman for the museums.

- Bloomberg Businessweek