January 23rd, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) A recent study by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry reveals that interest rates on credit cards in Costa Rica remain high, ranging between 23% and 54% – with the majority charging between 40% and 49.9%.
The study also reveals that Costa Rican credit card debt has increased by ¢11 billion compared to the last survey.
The result of these high interest rates is that many Costa Ricans end up paying three times the amount for a purchased item, according to Economic Minister, Mayi Antillon.
In August, President Laura Chinchilla signed a bill that would limit the maximum interest rate charged by credit card issuers and department stores.
The bill presented by Chinchilla’s government would establish a usury limit on these interest rates. Under the bill, the maximum interest that could be charged would be twice that of the quarterly average charged by the National Financial System (Sistema Financiero Nacional).
For example, today the quarterly average rate is 17.39% in colones, which would mean under the bill the upper limit on interest rates in colones would be 34.77%. In dollars, the average rate is currently 10.9%, meaning the upper limit for interest in dollars would be 21.8%.
The Consumers Association of Costa Rica has also voiced its support for the bill, which remains in the legislature.