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(qCOSTARICA) Despite the facilities offered by various payment methods offered by the country’s financial institutions, Costa Ricans still prefer to use cash, as shown by the survey “Bancarización, finance and savings in Costa Rica” by UNIMER for the Costa Rican Banking Association (Asociación Bancaria Costarricense – ABC).

The data show that 63.3% of respondents have a financial product, that is, a savings account or term deposit.

“Currently almost 8 in 10 people (78.2%) use debit card, which shows a significant use of the banking system, but only 2 of 10 (21.6%) use it as the more frequent payment method, ” said Gilberto Serrano, president of the ABC.

The survey also consulted on the level of comfort with the payment method most used. 62% feel very comfortable with cash, while the automatic debit is the mechanism that generates less confidence.

Respondents say the main reason for using cash is that way they have better control of their money. That was the opinion of 75.2% of the respondents, the rest mentioned, among other things, fear in using plastic or do not know use cards and also that businesses do not always accept them.

While online transaction is growing globally, in Costa Rica, only 3 in 10 take advantage of this facility. When it comes to ATM’s, 9 in 10 of the respondents say they have used them.*

International Comparison
According to the latest study by the World Bank (Banco Mundial in Spanish), 53.6% of people over 15 years old in Costa Rica have at least one debit card, placing the country in fourth place in Latin America, just behind Brazil , Puerto Rico and Chile.

Meanwhile, only 10.4% of people aged over 15 make online payments or shop online.  On this, Costa Rica is  the fifth country in Latin America.

Similarly, Costa Rica is ranked in eighth place in Latin America in the use of a smartphone to make transfers from bank, with 3.7% people using this facility.

The survey took in the responses of 1,000 people, distributed in proportion to the population by sex, age, socioeconomic status and area of residence, according to the last census of the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC). The survey has a margin of error of 5%.

*In Costa Rica major companies and government paychecks are by direct deposit, that is an employee is forced to obtain an ATM card, typically from the same bank used by their employer, where they will receive their salaries.