Banco Nacional finally hooks up with U.S. money processor

Banco Nacional said Friday that it is the first Costa Rican banking institution to affiliate with Pay Pal, the U.S. electronic payment system owned by eBay.

Many companies in Costa Rica already are Pay Pal customers, including A.M. Costa Rica. However, in order to withdraw money from a Pay Pal account, customers either had to have a bank account in the United States or another country friendly to Pay Pal or they had to have a Pay Pal debit card.

The agreement with Banco Nacional will allow Pay Pal customers who happen to have a Banco Nacional account to withdraw money directly from the U.S. payment system into an account here. Banco Nacional said that the transfer would take five days, a few days longer than transfers to and from Pay Pal from a U.S. bank account.

The bank noted that one benefit of a Pay Pal payment is that a purchaser does not have to give credit card information to a third party. Another advantage is that non-profits and others can place a donate button on their Web site to receive money to further their work.

Pay Pal takes about 4 percent from each payment, so it is competitive with credit cards. A.M. Costa Rica does not accept credit card payments directly, and, instead, directs customers to use the Pay Pal system for more security.

Pay Pal is in 190 countries and has banking arrangements with more than half.  Pay Pal’s service 10 years ago was spotty, and some Costa Rican business people had bad experiences then. However, eBay purchased the company for $1.5 billion in 2002, and customer services appears to have improved. A.M. Costa Rica reported its experiences with Pay Pal in a CR Business article in 2010.

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