It’s not entirely by choice. Deutsche Bank Italia, which serves the Vatican with its credit card and other electronic services, has pulled the plug on the Holy See, the Associated Press reports. The Bank of Italy ordered it to do so by Dec. 31.
The order comes because the Vatican isn’t in compliance with European Union regulations concerning money laundering. That means no Italian bank can provide any electronic services to the popular tourist attraction.
The Vatican is working to fix the problem as it updates its financial processes. Last year, it passed a required EU transparency test, but other requirements haven’t yet been met. Deutsche Bank Italia didn’t seek authorization from the EU when it began handling the Vatican’s accounts more than 15 years ago, and now, even though it has submitted the paperwork, still other measures will have to be met.
Until then, it’s all cash-and-carry at the museum, tours and gift shops.