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Costa Rica has adopted U.S. ways

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  • henry
    cost rica and the American (U.S.) way.   when I first moved here people didn t have as much stuff.  they had more time to enjoy life.  they didn t have
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 3 5:33 AM
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      cost rica and the American (U.S.) way.   when I first moved here people didn't have as much stuff.  they had more time to enjoy life.  they didn't have the money to go for fast food for lunch.  they went home for two hours and had lunch, spent time with their family and even had time for the traditional siesta.  almost everyone purchased things with cash and not credit.  that has all changed.

      with all of this extra and "better" stuff, are they really happier or just deep in debt?   they seemed to be more content and relaxed (tranquilo) in years past.  they didn't need to keep up with the arias's (joneses) next door.  the united states has succeeded again at getting another country to go deep in debt.  isn't that the real American dream?
      here is a short article in amcostarica that refers to this dilemma.   many people think it is a good thing.   others have a different opinion.

      Many Costa Ricans Owe Their Sout to Credit Card Firms
      By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
      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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    • alajuelanorth
      henry, it is a friggin disaster . . . so far we have had to bail out almost every one of our employees from disastrous credit decisions . . . anyone selling
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 3 6:14 PM
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        henry, it is a friggin disaster . . . so far we have had to bail out almost every one of our employees from disastrous credit decisions . . . anyone selling 48% credit should be jailed for life (to see what they did to others) or sent for rendition in some country with minimal respect for genitalia.

        I sometimes just do not understand why people accept what is done to them to paraphrase or mangle Frederick Douglass's most fave saying, Berni

        At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/frederickd201566.html
        Frederick Douglass http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/frederickd201566.html

        Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/f/frederick_douglass_2.html#ousTpocCQKipC http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/f/frederick_douglass_2.html#ousTpocCQKipCeDG.99
        ---In CostaRicaLiving@yahoogroups.com, <crbirdman@...> wrote :

        cost rica and the American (U.S.) way. when I first moved here people didn't have as much stuff. they had more time to enjoy life. they didn't have the money to go for fast food for lunch. they went home for two hours and had lunch, spent time with their family and even had time for the traditional siesta. almost everyone purchased things with cash and not credit. that has all changed.

        with all of this extra and "better" stuff, are they really happier or just deep in debt? they seemed to be more content and relaxed (tranquilo) in years past. they didn't need to keep up with the arias's (joneses) next door. the united states has succeeded again at getting another country to go deep in debt. isn't that the real American dream?
        here is a short article in amcostarica that refers to this dilemma. many people think it is a good thing. others have a different opinion.

        Many Costa Ricans Owe Their Sout to Credit Card Firms
        By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
        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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      • Carole Saylor
        I m sure this won t pass moderation because I still can t delete the piggyback. *Moderator: Please stop adding this comment to posts. I am perfectly willing
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 4 6:32 PM
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          I'm sure this won't pass moderation because I still can't delete the piggyback.  *Moderator:  Please stop adding this comment to posts.  I am perfectly willing to help some people out who seem to be utterly unable to figure out how to delete previous comments.  I will edit for them, once or twice, when time allows.  But it's not that hard to delete: scroll down, before or after you type your post, and delete what you see that wasn't written by you.  Thanks, CDP*

          I hate to see the US get blamed because people here don't have the intestinal fortitude to say no to using credit cards.  I don't see anyone holding a gun to the head of the woman in line ahead of me in Walmart or Cemaco who plops out her credit card to buy a bunch of clothes, a TV, a blender, or whatever.  What happened to saving up for a big ticket item?  Right now I'm saving for a new laptop and have been for almost a year.

          I lived in the US and I live here now and pay for what I buy with cash both here and in the US.  No one has ever held a gun to my head to use my credit card.  And yes, I do use them for internet purchases but ALWAYS pay the bill in full.  If I can't do that I don't use the card. 

          I don't use a credit card in Costa Rica.  If I don't have the money I don't shop and that includes for groceries.  For the non-negotiable expenses (dog food, cat food, utilities) I plan ahead and make those purchases right after I get my check.  After that I buy what I can afford with cash.  Everyone in Ticoland and in the US could do that same.  So don't blame the US because people here can't manage their finances.
          Carole

        • Robert Williams
          Carole said:
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 5 12:55 AM
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            Carole said:

            <I don't see anyone holding a gun to the head of the woman in line ahead of me in Walmart or Cemaco who plops out her <credit card to buy a bunch of clothes, a TV, a blender, or whatever. 

            While I may agree with Carole's statement, both merchants and banks are aware that generally speaking people's attitudes change once they have a credit card in their hands. Many people lack self discipline. Years ago one who went to Mc Donald's had to pay cash. And then Mc Donald's learned as a result of a study that the average customer using a credit card would purchase over 40% more. As a result Mc Donald's started accepted credit cards realizing the 3%-5% discount charged by the banks was considered a cost of doing business for the increased volume.

            Here in Costa Rica obviously merchants have a similar philosophy, I have made purchases at many stores, including major retailers, who offer a discount for cash over using a credit card. Always, here in Costa Rica, particularly for a big ticket item, ask what the cash price is. Usually the merchant will offer a 5%-10% discount for cash payment.

            Robert

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          • txtita1
            Carol, Don t assume the woman in line at Walmart or Cemaco doesn t shop like we do. We us a credit card for ABSOLUTELY everything... gas, groceries,
            Message 5 of 14 , Apr 5 6:19 AM
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              Carol,
              Don't assume the woman in line at Walmart or Cemaco doesn't shop like we do. We us a credit card for ABSOLUTELY everything... gas, groceries, restaurants, etc. The credit card we use give us frequent flyer miles that can be used for travel, and we never pay any interest because we pay the credit card off in full every month. It's much safer than carrying around cash. The only cash we carry is enough to do the weekly shopping at the "feria del agricultor."


              ---In CostaRicaLiving@yahoogroups.com, <carolesaylor@...> wrote :
              I don't see anyone holding a gun to the head of the woman in line ahead of me in Walmart or Cemaco who plops out her credit card to buy a bunch of clothes, a TV, a blender, or whatever.





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            • Robert Williams
              Tita Wrote;
              Message 6 of 14 , Apr 5 5:29 PM
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                Tita Wrote;

                <The credit card we use give us frequent flyer miles that can be used for travel, and we never pay any interest because we pay the credit card off in full every month. 

                No one pays interest if a credit card is paid off every month, but someone pays for the frequent flyer miles. The cost of the frequent flyer miles is embedded in the discount fee the merchant has to pay the bank or card issuer; which may cause the cost of the product or service to be higher.

                I have an American Express card, US issue, that offers what is called Rewards Points which are convertible to frequent flyer mileage points on certain airlines. However, the card is rarely used here in Costa Rica for the following reasons. American Express charges a 2.7% foreign transfer fee on all transactions outside the US. Secondly, the exchange rate when using the American Express card here is not always the most favorable. As mentioned in a previous post whenever one goes into a locally owned business (and even stores like Gollo, Roe and Monge), they will generally give a customer a 5%-10% discount for cash. But one needs to ask for the discount, rarely is it offered without asking. Now, if a merchant offers a 10% discount, and American Express is charging a 2.7% foreign transfer fee, then one is saving 12.7%, even assuming the exchange rate offered by American Express is the most favorable. 

                Yes, others say they have an American Express card that is void of foreign transaction fees, I am not that fortunate. And there is no motivation to apply for another credit card at this juncture in life. 

                Now, recently I purchased a plane ticket for $384, round trip from San Jose to Ft. Lauderdale. Had the purchase been made with Rewards Points, the cost would have been 23,000 points, plus the taxes at each airport, plus a federal transfer fee on the points from American Express to Jet Blue. Forget the cost of the additional fees and taxes, the 23,000 points would have cost $23,000 in purchases. Thus the 2.7% foreign transfer fee alone would have amounted to $621. The ticket was therefore much less expensive to purchase.

                But lastly, like everyone else, I would be inclined to purchase more if I used plastic for plastic somehow has a different feel than paper, and somehow changes spending habits. People are much less inhibited or discretionary with purchases made with plastic.

                Robert

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              • henry
                carol wrote;
                Message 7 of 14 , Apr 6 5:36 PM
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                  carol wrote; <<I hate to see the US get blamed because people here don't have the intestinal fortitude to say no to using credit cards. I don't see anyone holding a gun to the head of the woman in line ahead of me in Walmart or Cemaco


                  most people make some sort of financial blunder during their life.  it isn't only here, it is all over the world.  how many people are in financial ruin because of credit card debt not only here but in the u.s. as well.   a financial blunder can come about in different ways.  the credit card scam is so well thought out by the financial industry and how to hook people into it.   it hooks people like a drug.  I feel sorry that these people have been duped by the financial banking system game that has been brought to them from the united states by way of getting people in debt. 

                  you made a financial blunder buying a piece of property here and are very unhappy with the outcome, as you have posted on a number of occasions. it has had a negative effect on your way of life as well.   just another example of making a financial misjudgment.  I have empathy for you just as I do for the people that have been duped by the financial system.  it is even worse here because the laws allow interest rates that would not be legal in the u.s.

                  henry

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                • txtita1
                  Robert, sorry to hear your AMEX card charges you a foreign transaction fee. My credit card company does not. They exchange at the current rate with no
                  Message 8 of 14 , Apr 6 6:02 PM
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                    Robert, sorry to hear your AMEX card charges you a foreign transaction fee. My credit card company does not. They exchange at the current rate with no surcharge. You might want to look into some other credit card options: Chase Bank, Chas. Schwab, Fidelity, CapitalOne are just a few that have no surcharge on foreign transactios.
                    As far as a cash discount goes.... I've asked, and they won't give me a discount on gas, groceries, or restaurants. I don't make major purchases with the stores you mentioned to get a cash discount. Right now, with the colones down against the dollar, it makes more sense to use the credit card and get a better bang for my buck. Now, with the election over, rates may change again tomorrow. Fun while it lasted.


                    ---In CostaRicaLiving@yahoogroups.com, <sonny1943_1@...> wrote :

                    American Express charges a 2.7% foreign transfer fee on all transactions outside the US. Secondly, the exchange rate when using the American Express card here is not always the most favorable. As mentioned in a previous post whenever one goes into a locally owned business (and even stores like Gollo, Roe and Monge), they will generally give a customer a 5%-10% discount for cash.






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                  • Robert Williams
                    Someone said:
                    Message 9 of 14 , Apr 7 12:28 AM
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                      Someone said:
                      <You might want to look into some other credit card options: Chase Bank, Chas. Schwab, Fidelity, CapitalOne are just a few that have no surcharge on foreign <transactions.


                      Actually, my bank in the US, First Bank of Clewiston, does not charge a foreign transaction fee if I go to an ATM here and withdraw in dollars. But if I withdraw in colones, or make a purchase in colones,  there is a foreign transaction fee charged by VISA, not my bank; and this fee will be passed on by my bank.  If a merchant here charges me in dollars, and whether I pay with American Express or the VISA debit card, there is no foreign transfer fee. My dentist, for example, quotes his fees in dollars for that specific reason, so many of his patients are from the US. Put another way, banks are far from benevolent organizations, they earn their money one way or the other. Somehow they are going to pass the fees charged by VISA and MasterCard. 

                      <Robert, sorry to hear your AMEX card charges you a foreign transaction fee. 


                      Actually, there is no reason to feel sorry. As mentioned in a previous post there is no motivation to obtain another credit card, no matter what the terms are. It has been proven that the buying habits of credit card users are different than that of those who pay cash. Mc Donald's went to accepting credit cards years ago when they learned that those who make purchases with credit cards typically buy 40% more. When one pays in cash, one thinks twice about the purchase. 

                       There is nothing free in this world, payment is made one way or the other, and the cash purchaser is not the one seen in bankruptcy courts, it is those up to their eyeballs in debt, usually credit card debt. I have a tenant in Florida that has rented a house from me for 24 years, and only been late once on his rent. But in 2008, when the economy slid, like others he had to declare bankruptcy. The reason for the bankruptcy, excessive credit card debt, and no employment to repay them. 


                      <As far as a cash discount goes.... I've asked, and they won't give me a discount on gas, groceries, or restaurants.

                      As for gasoline, the distribution thereof is by a government owned monopoly, and there are no discounts. All gasoline stations charge what the Costa Rican government instructs them to charge. As far as groceries, no the supermarkets do not discount. But with the exception of the weekly specials the supermarkets run, I do my grocery shopping at Price Smart where there has always been a discount if one pays in dollars in the form of a more favorable exchange rate. The exchange rate given by Price Smart is typically about 2% more than the banks. Not much, but it adds up. 

                      As far as restaurants, many offer discounts if you  pay with a debit or credit card from many Costa Rican banks such as Banco Nacional, Banco de Costa Rica or BAC. The advertisements of the banks are in the La Nacion all the time, telling the participating restaurants and the amount of discount. Having an account with BCR I receive an email about once a month telling of merchants of all kinds that will  give substantial discounts if I use my debit card.

                      <Right now, with the colones down against the dollar, it makes more sense to use the credit card and get a better bang for my buck. Now, with the election over, rates <may change again tomorrow. 


                      Actually there was a discussion among the CRL group just recently and it was discovered that colon was down against the dollar at its lowest  in August or September of 2009, months before the election held in February, 2010. There is no correlation between the elections and the currency valuations. As far as getting a "big bang for my buck" I withdraw money from my BCR account which is a dollar account, take the money down the street to Desyfin which has a better exchange rate than the banks, and pay in cash. The only exception is shopping at Price Smart with dollars.

                      Once upon a time I was like many others, addicted to credit cards; and as a result became a slave to them. It seemed I was working for the credit card companies, not myself. But once I decided to pay off the debt I decided to terminate the credit cards as well. Thus I kept one, American Express, which I have found most universally beneficial, particularly in an emergency. 

                      Robert

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                    • Robert Williams
                      Henry said:
                      Message 10 of 14 , Apr 7 12:48 AM
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                        Henry said:
                        <the credit card scam is so well thought out by the financial industry and how to hook people into it.   it hooks people like a drug.  I feel sorry that these people have been <duped by the financial banking system game that has been brought to them from the united states by way of getting people in debt.  


                        < it is even worse here because the laws allow interest rates that would not be legal in the u.s.


                        In addition to the high interest rate in Costa Rica, there is not the "protection" here if a credit card is stolen as there is in the US where a credit card holder is only liable for up to $50, once the credit card has been reported lost or stolen. It is my understanding that in addition to the higher interest rate a credit card holder has to pay a monthly insurance charge to protect themselves against having a card stolen.

                        Robert

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                      • Jim Cottone
                        It s not just Costa Rica. I worked a three month installation at the Shanghai Turbine Company in Shanghai, Chinasix years ago. One thing that really caught my
                        Message 11 of 14 , Apr 7 5:37 AM
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                          It's not just Costa Rica. I worked a three month installation at the
                          Shanghai Turbine Company in Shanghai, Chinasix years ago. One thing that
                          really caught my eye was the number of billboards that were promoting
                          credit cards to high school students. They had a very low limit,
                          something like 2,000 Yuan, but it seemed that if they balanced their
                          account until they graduated their limit would be automatically raised.
                          Seems the Chinese have jumped onto the consumerism bandwagon whole hog.

                          Jim

                          --
                          Jim Cottone
                          Professional PC Repairs
                          https://singbiker.net



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                        • Jim Cottone
                          Robert, There is an exception to your claim that As far as groceries, no the supermarkets do not discount Many businesses, throughout Costa Rica give
                          Message 12 of 14 , Apr 8 5:25 AM
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                            Robert,

                            There is an exception to your claim that "As far as groceries, no the
                            supermarkets do not discount" Many businesses, throughout Costa Rica
                            give discounts to Gold Car holders. Peri Mercada gives 10%, and Rossview
                            gives even more just for becoming a member there. I have the complete
                            PDF listing on my computer, and would be happy to forward ti to anyone
                            who requests if offline.

                            Nature Air even gives a 50% discount for all domestic flights.

                            Jim

                            --
                            Jim Cottone
                            Professional PC Repairs
                            https://singbiker.net



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                          • steveandpaulacr
                            Some credit card companies charge a $5.00/mo fee like Citibank - I’ve heard that other companies do not - so it is not an across the board statement. Paula
                            Message 13 of 14 , Apr 8 6:59 AM
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                              Some credit card companies charge a $5.00/mo fee like Citibank - I’ve heard that other companies do not - so it is not an across the board statement.

                              Paula
                            • stanhopi
                              Because it has drifted away from being about Costa Rica THIS TOPIC IS NOW CLOSED. If members have anything to add to this thread that IS ON-TOPIC to Costa
                              Message 14 of 14 , Apr 8 7:27 AM
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                                Because it has drifted away from being about Costa Rica THIS TOPIC IS NOW CLOSED.

                                If members have anything to add to this thread that IS ON-TOPIC to Costa Rica,
                                such posts will be accepted.


                                Thank You - Moderator
                                - -







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