Why are there problems with credit cards and ATMs?

I have just read a discussion list account of the experience of a couple visiting southern Nicoya. They said that very few businesses take debit or credit cards in that area. They commented that in two days, they found only one business that would take a debit/credit card. They went to an ATM, but it wouldn’t give them cash!

I have been trying to find out why from the ATMs I use, I can’t get colons when using my debit card. I have been using my debit card for a number of years to get colons directly out of the ATMs I have been using. I carry a substantial balance in my checking account. The bank has informed me that I should not be having problems, and after contacting consumer inquiries at Mastercard, being told that they were investigating (and “Thank you for your patience”), then, not hearing from them for over a week, and inquiring what was going on, I was blown off with “Contact your bank”!

What is going on? Anyone interested in doing an investigative report on this? Why are the Costa Ricans shooting themselves in the foot with the tourists? The country is almost bankrupt, and they could care less about satisfying their biggest industry.

Paul Meister

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