American Express to launch services in Cuba

American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are being displayed in New York, US, on May 18, 2010. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG 
American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are being displayed in New York, US, on May 18, 2010. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - American Express said Wednesday that it plans to launch services for its credit card users in Cuba, after Washington and Havana agreed to establish relations following a half-century feeze.

Moving in the steps of rival MasterCard, an American Express spokeswoman said the company had plans to begin business activities in Cuba, "consistent with the President's announced policy change," though no specific date for a launch is set.

US President Barack Obama's historic move in December to open the doors to better political, social and business ties with the Caribbean island nation is expected to, at first, give a boost to travel to the country long under a US embargo.

Obama said US banks would be able to offer various services including use of their credit cards in Cuba.

MasterCard said last week that it would begin processing customer transactions from Cuba in March.