Bank of Italy suspended the processing of all transactions on bank cards and other electronic payments made in the Vatican.
The reason for the ban was the failure by the Holy See to comply in full with international rules to combat money laundering. The ban was officially declared by the head of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi.
According to the Financial Times, the ban means that tourists will not be able to use credit or debit cards to pay for tickets to a museum or shopping in the gift shops. However, by January 15, tourists can buy tickets to the Vatican museums via the Internet.
Yearly turnover of museums and souvenir shops of Vatican exceeds 100 million euros. According to the agency Bloomberg, excluding donations and investments, sale of souvenirs, museum tickets, cards and postage stamps are the only source of income for the Holy See.
Each year museums of the world’s smallest state are visited by over 5 million tourists who bring substantial income to the Vatican. Specifically, in 2011, revenues from tourism amounted to more than 91 million euros.