There are 1,872,149 credit cards in circulation in Costa Rica, and the average debt represented by each card is 458,852 colons, according to the economics ministry.
That is a total debt of some 859 trillion colons or $1.6 trillion. That’s 31.5 billion colons more than the previous year.
And these figures do not take into account the Christmas season because the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio did its survey as of Oct. 31.
The ministry also reported that some 12.8 percent of the credit card owners were behind in payments.
The ministry noted that there are 29 firms or banks in Costa Rica that issue credit cards. And there are 398 different types of cards.
The ministry has been studying the credit card business for four years. In the latest report the ministry repeated its findings that some credit card issuers charge from 40 to 51 percent annual interest. And some issuers even charge customers who want to get a card.
The high interest rate has attracted the attention of lawmakers who may try to put a cap on the rate via legislation.