Between April 2016 and April 2017, the balance of credit card debt in Costa Rica grew by 21%, equivalent to 3.7% of GDP, says a study by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC).

The MEIC study, through the Directorate of Economic and Market Research, analyzed the growth of the debt balance and the number of cards for the last five years (from April 2012 to April 2017). In addition, this study determined a growth of 51% and 60%, respectively, which is in line with the upward trend that has been seen in the quarterly studies.

In relation to credit card debt (April 2016 to April 2017) it was quantified at ¢1,098,957,000,000 colones and the number of plastic cards in circulation grew by 11% to 2,476,844 in the same period.

Up to April 30, 2017, there were 31 credit card issuers with 472 different types of cards (up from 30 and 457 the previous year), with the majority of the products (56%) with interest rates ranging from 45% to 50.4%. Private bank have the largest number of cards issued (83%), the rest by state banks and others. A small number have an annual interest below 19.9%.

With respect to debit cards, the report indicates there are currently 27 issuers, up to 2 from last year, with 354 products, 44 less than the previous year. The number of debit cards in circulation is 5.880,847 (up 3.9% pr 223,708 cards over last year).

Read full report (in spanish): “Segundo estudio trimestral de tarjegas de credito y debito 2017″ (Credit and Debit Cards Study – April 2017)

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