After the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC) requested the Commission to Promote Competition (COPROCOM) on July 27, 2018, the investigation of the interbank rates market in the service of acquiring electronic payment methods, the COPROCOM states that “… it is evident from the structure of the markets involved and their particularities that there is no competition policy capable of solving the structural problem that impedes effective competition for the determination of exchange rates.

“It is for this reason that the intervention of the State is considered either in the supervision or in the regulation of exchange commissions, which is indispensable today to guarantee their transparent and objective functioning.”

The ministerial statement issued on July 23 explains that “… the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce will initiate the regulation process established in Article 5 of the Law for the Promotion of Competition and Effective Defense of Consumers, Law No. 7472 and its regulations, for the particular case of the exchange fees that form part of the commissions, which are charged in payment operations carried out in point of sale terminals, or any other type of technology, located in the country, regardless of the marketing channel and the means of payment used.

According to the Department of Economic and Market Research (DIEM), in Costa Rica, there are 8.95 million cards in circulation, 3 million credit cards and 5.95 million in debit cards.

In the same context, in December 2018 a proposal was presented in the country that seeks that the Banco Central (Central Bank of Costa Rica) and the Commission to Promote Competition, set a single percentage in the commissions paid by businesses for accepting credit or debit cards.

The bill is currently in the mandatory consultation stage in the Economic Affairs Commission of the Legislative Assembly.