A Caution about Using Bank Cards


A Caution about Using Bank Cards

Please be aware that students have had problems in the past using their personal bank cards here in Costa Rica. It is not a common problem, but when it does happen it can be very stressful and unpleasant. Obviously being in a foreign country with no access to money is a nightmare. Please make it a priority to be organised and prepared for when you get down here. I can’t give you exact advice what to do, because every American/Canadian/British bank is different, but here are some do’s and don’ts to help you.

 

1.  Don’t assume that everything will work out fine when you get down here and your bank card will work everywhere.

 

2.  Go to your bank and explain your situation and concerns and get the info that you need.

 

3.  Be prepared for it to not work. Have a backup plan. Of course, bring some cash with you, and just a heads up, banks in Costa Rica will not accept ripped or damaged dollars, so please ensure all bills are in good shape as you prepare for your trip! I also recommend you leave an extra bank card with someone you trust or open up a joint account with them so that they can access your money and Western Union it down here. If you are not familiar with how Western Union works, find out. It’s very easy but it’s better to do that now than stressed out down here.

I have never heard of anyone having trouble with credit cards, but it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan for that situation either. It is very difficult to open a bank account down here until you have a job. Once you have a job it is easy, but don’t count on that for at least a couple of months after you land.

 

4.  Also be sure to tell your bank you will be in Costa Rica and will be using your bankcard/credit card down here. Otherwise they will get suspicious and put a freeze on your card. This is very common for our students, and even though it is easily resolved, it can be very inconvenient and frustrating. Better to do all these things while you are in your country, speaking your language.

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