October 12th, 2012 – In Costa Rica, there is a new method to avoid trips and long lines to government agencies, banks, insurance institutes, and others that used to require paperwork be done in person. Thanks to a new “digital signature card”, available now, many in-person trips may now be done remotely, from your home computer.
The digital signature card contains a special chip, and when connected to your computer, will allow you to perform many tasks that otherwise would have required your presence and physical signature in the past.
31,000 ticos and foreign residents have already purchased the card.
According to Carlos Melegatti, of the Costa Rican Central Bank BCCR), the digital signature is like a “cedula” (Costa Rican identification card), that can be used to conduct many forms of business without having to be present.
National Banks are not currently obligated to accept the digital signature, however, according to Melagatti, it is certainly practical for financial institutions to make use of the new card, in addition to government agencies, and it is expected that most financial institutions, if they haven’t already, will begin accepting its use.
Currently, 25 institutions accept the digital signature. Some of these are the “Poder Judicial” (Judicial branch), through which criminal reports and judicial files can be requested, the INS, in which policies and other business can be conducted, and the Engineers Professional College, in which blueprints can be requested, among many others.
There are currently 31 institutions in the country where one can obtain the card, which has a cost of $30-$35. Some of these institutions are the Banco Nacional, Banco Popular, Banco de Costa Rica, Banco Central, and INS (National Insurance Institute).
The process takes approximately 15 minutes and the card is issued on the spot.
The digital signature card is available to all Costa Ricans as well as foreign residents who have a valid DIMEX-standard cedula.