Moving to Costa Rica, either on business or for residency is a very good decision in the current economic backdrop of the country. One of most important aspects of such decision, for a corporation or an individual is to find a banker in Costa Rica who can provide the same or similar kind of banking services that you are already enjoying in your own country. “Which bank should I bank with in Costa Rica?” is a difficult question to answer. With the opening of doors to the world at large and being a democracy in the middle of a globalization process, Costa Rica has already revamped its banking laws and put in great efforts towards building a presentable and logistic infrastructure.

Choosing a bank

As with any other country or need, the most important consideration while choosing a bank would be to ascertain the type of services you may need. It is also important to do a little research and decide upon the availability of such services and the lead time in providing the same for you. Banking is a very aspect of everyone’s financial life and the matter of trust also plays a major role in making the decision of choosing the right and suitable bank.

Costa Rica has two kinds of banks – government and private and both types have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Government owned banks in Costa Rica are the Banco Nacional, Banco Credito Agricola and the Banco Costa Rica. They have branches all across the country and the monies deposited with them are guaranteed. Many of them are known to have long line-ups and banking with them could be a little time consuming.

Costa Rica also houses a lot of private banks affiliated to major international banks. These banks are also governed by the same rules as the government banks and are overseen by them. Most of them are locate din the central valley and have very few branches as of now.

All or most of the banks have checking and savings accounts kept in Dollars or Colones. While many banks take time to encash international checks and many of them have automated teller machines to facilitate banking after closure. Checks issued in Costa Rica have no validity internationally. Many banks here also offer debit and credit cards subject to requirements. The requirements are not fixed and depend upon references, minimum deposits and identification checks.

While the Costa Rican currency, Colones is devalued quite often, it is suggested to hold the account in Dollars and convert when required. Although Colones accounts earn a higher rate of interest, the devaluation does not translate the interest into projected earnings most often.

Costa Rica’s offshore banking is very regulated and the authorities actually cooperate with many far flung international agencies in order to prevent any money laundering and also report any drug related deals. Thus, offshore bank accounts in Costa Rica offer a great level of asset and protection.

As of today, Costa Rica has a central bank, 3 government owned banks and nineteen private commercial banks, one workers bank and one government owned mortgage bank.

An agency called the Superintendency of Financial Markets (SUGEVAL) was incorporated and created in 1998 to supervise and regulate the Costa Rican banks, stock and bond markets.