QCOSTARICA – Low-income Costa Ricans prefer cash for their purchases, reveals the study National Income and Expenditure Surveys of 2013 and 2004 the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (Encuestas Nacionales de Ingresos y Gastos de 2013 y 2004 of the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos – INEC).

The data shows that Costa Ricans with higher purchasing power make their purchases with plastic in 26 out of 100 payments, while only between 2.2 and 3 percent among the poorer.

Overall, in 2013, 69.5% of Costa Ricans made their purchases in cash (efectivo in Spanish), 15.3% using plastic cards, 4.7% buying on credit and other forms, that includes gifts, barter or even illegally.

Statistician Yorlene Quirós, who participated in the study, explained that in other findings, households with secondary education and the elderly are more likely to use cash, while the young with a college education prefer electronic media.

When segmented by geographic regions, it is observed that cards are used more frequently in the Central region and urban areas, while in the coastal areas, the northern zone and the Caribbean the use of plastic did not exceed 8.2%, in 2013.

This shows that, although more people have access to formal means of payment (cards and online payments), the use has not been uniform. In fact, the latest survey conducted by the World Bank (2013), found that half of Costa Ricans did not have a savings account at a financial institution, nor debit or credit card.

According to Quirós, electronic forms of payment are less risky to walking around wich cash and a sign of modernization in the financial system. Electronic payments also improves the traceability of money that benefits tax revenues.