Many Costa Ricans owe their soul to credit card firms

Just like the central government, average Costa Ricans continue to spend more than they bring in.

The economics ministry computed that the country’s credit card debt increased 21 percent in the last 19 months. That is a bit more than 1 percent a month.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio said that the increase was about 4 billion colons a month. The credit card debt for the country was estimated to be 787.5 trillion colons as of Jan. 31. That is about $1.5 trillion.

In addition to the debt, Costa Rica does not have anti-usury laws, so some banks are charging more than 50 percent interest a year. The ministry said that the credit card debt went up 4.8 percent just since October.

There are about 1.7 million individual credit cards in use. In the last four years it has been doing the study, the ministry said that the number of credit cards has increased 30.8 percent.

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