Credit card debt increases slightly over 2011 figure

Costa Ricans increased their average credit card debt by a bit more than $100 to 638,688 colons ($1,277) over the last year, according to the economics ministry. But late payments are down slightly.

This is the finding of a survey done every July by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio. This year the ministry found that there were some 6.3 million plastic cards in use issued by 28 firms, mostly banks. The number of cards is up 7 percent from July 2011.

Some credit card interest continues to be sky high. The highest reported were between 48.9 and 54 percent per year. Lower rates, mostly at state banks, were in the 24 to 27 percent range.

The ministry counted just 1,593,169 credit cards. The rest are debit cards. It is the holders of credit cards who have the average $1,277 debt with the card issuers. The ministry said that debt was up some 59,029 colons or about $118.06. Card holders in arrears were some 4.1 percent, down 1.2 percent from 2011.

Credomatic, Promérica, Banco Nacional and Citi offer 50 percent of the 390 types of cards in the market.

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