Italy's central bank has stopped the Vatican from
accepting credit cards due to a technicality, forcing tourists to use
cash when visiting the mini-state's world-famous museum and Sistine
Chapel, daily Corriere della Sera reported Thursday.
The Vatican's electronic payments are handled by the Italian subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, which had not sought the necessary authorizations, Bank of Italy officials explained.
The interruption, which came into force on Wednesday, has been confirmed by the Vatican, with spokesman Federico Lombardi saying he expected services to resume soon.
In part due to the presence of the Mafia, Italy has strict banking rules affecting non-European Union countries, such as the Holy See, designed to stop money-laundering.
The Vatican Museums, which each year is visited by some 5 million tourists eager to see the Sistine Chapel, has a notice on its website saying debit and credit cards are no longer accepted as of January 1.
Also affected by the Bank of Italy's decision are the Vatican's pharmacy, supermarket and other shops.
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