Over a month ago, we told you that the Vatican was suddenly stripped of their ability to accept credit cards. The reason? Deutsche Bank of Italia - the Italian bank that handled credit card purchases at the Vatican for over a decade - was stripped of its authorization by the Bank of Italy after it was determined that Deutsche Bank of Italia never actually applied for the authorization.
Since the beginning of January, the Vatican had been scrambling for a backup plan to solve the issue and make spending easier for tourists (and consequently more prosperous for the Vatican). According to a report published yesterday by CNNMoney, the Vatican has found their solution.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi explained that a Swiss card payment company, Aduno, had been contracted to step in and provide credit card service to the Vatican. Using a loophole in EU banking rules, the move does not require authorization by the Bank of Italy since the Swiss company is not a part of the European Union.
For the last six weeks, the popular tourist destination and religious pilgrimage in Italy has been unable to accept credit cards for museum admissions, souvenir purchases and just about everything else. The consequences were currency headaches for tourists, but it's unclear how much the Vatican lost on revenue over the last month-in-a-half without the convenience of credit card purchases.
The switch to Aduno as a credit card payment service couldn't come at a better time for the Vatican. Just this week, Pope Benedict XVI announced his almost unprecedented intention to retire at the end of the month. According to the Huffington Post, tour guides are gearing up for a surge in visitors before giving way to the upcoming Conclave, set to take place at the end of February.
Tourists with upcoming plans to visit the Vatican can now rest a little easier knowing their credit card will be accepted and they won't have to scramble to find ATM's with sky-high transaction fees.