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ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

Ramer, Alabama
Level Contributor
467 posts
3 reviews
ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

I have heard that there are substancial fees and charges when using a credit card in CR. Is that true and what are the extra charges.

Merida, Mexico
Level Contributor
5,682 posts
168 reviews
1. Re: ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

You need to check with your credit card issuer. Visa and Master Card both charge 1% for foreign transactions and your credit card issuer typically adds an additional 1-4%

Ramer, Alabama
Level Contributor
467 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

thanks sean, that's kind of steep. I didn't want to carry any more cash over there than I have to. Will take some travelers checks but will need some cash also.

Merida, Mexico
Level Contributor
5,682 posts
168 reviews
3. Re: ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

I'd forget about the traveler's checks. Most placers wont accept them and instead direct you cash them at a bank which can take several hours. Capitol One Master Card only charges 1% for foreign transactions, so you might want to get one of their cards

Level Contributor
4 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

Credit cards typically charge sellers 6% of purchase price. In Costa Rica rather than eat that, many hotels and sellers add it on for using the card.

I suggest taking a debit card and drawing cash as needed. Fees are less. Typically 1.5% - and you get a far more advantageous exchange rate.

Shrewsbury
Destination Expert
for Barcelona
Level Contributor
14,208 posts
24 reviews
5. Re: ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

Move to the UK and take out an account with the Nationwide Building Society (same as a bank, but with slightly different rules and ownership). Cash withdrawals from foreign banks don't atract a charge and the rates are good.

If living in a different continent seems excessive, use a debit card or shop around for a credit card with a low charge. They should tell you what they charge if you phone and ask. In the UK rates seem to vary between 0% and 4% for reputable card providers, with about 1.5% being fairly normal.

North Carolina
Level Contributor
79 posts
1 review
6. Re: ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

We are going to CR in a week and after reading this I called about our VISA card. I was told there should be a 3% charge and no more than that. I know when we were there last year we were told there would be a 6% charge on something but we checked and did not have to do that.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
1,282 posts
7. Re: ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

Some of the confusion is that there are multiple charges coming from different places.

The 3% that VISA told you on the phone is the rate that is charged by the banks and processing companies behind the scenes when you use that particular card overseas. This is partially offset by the fact that when you use your card you are getting the interbank exchange rate for Colones/USD, so the differential over using cash will be somewhere between the cash price and that 3% (or whatever) additional.

The next charge that can come into play is the additional percentage the merchant has to pay to its processing CC processing company so that it can accept your card. Some pass this cost along to you as an additional bolt-on fee (thus one price for cash, one for credit). Others just charge one price for either cash or credit and simply build in the processing fees into their overall cost structure.

Moral of this technobabble story:

(1) Find out from your credit card company what they charge you for using your card in Costa Rica.

(2) Always ask hotels, tour operators, restaurants etc if they will charge an additional fee if you pay by credit card. If they do not have an additional charge, ask if you can get a discount if you pay in cash .

North Carolina
Level Contributor
79 posts
1 review
8. Re: ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

This is all really interesting. My MasterCard provider told me that if there was more than 3% it would be an illegal charge and that business would be in jeopardy of losing their contract with MasterCard. We were over charged some place on our trip last year and when we were checking out of the Arenal Observatory Lodge and talking about this, they told us it was illegal to put a charge on top. Anyway, did not run into that problem any more.

9. Re: ATM charges in Costa Rica.........

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Removed on: 26 August 2009, 07:49