With this operation, customers can pay off debts owed to other credit card issuers and have them reassigned to a single card with a lower interest rate, reducing monthly payments.
Electronic Media Director of Banco Nacional, Marco Vinicio Calderon told Nacion.com that since January 2011 the bank has purchased about $7.4 million in credit card balances.
"According to the bank, a person with an outstanding balance of ¢2 million ($4,000) at a rate of 50% interest, over a 48 month term, pays instalments of ¢97,000 ($194), but if the debt is consolidated, the monthly payment may go down to about ¢65,200 ($130)", reported Nacion.com.
At the end of October 2013 the number of cards in circulation amounted to 1,723,306.
A press release from the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade of Costa Rica reads:
Costa Ricans owe in total $1,496 million in balances on credit cards, which is an increase of $21.5 million (1.46%) compared to the latest study by the Directorate of Economic and Market Research, according to the cut made up to October 31, 2013.
The increased demand for bank credit from consumers and businesses plus the financing needs of the government, is putting pressure on the capital market and interest rates.
The competition for liquidity can be seen in the activity of the National Stock Exchange, where the amounts being released on the exchange are increasing because of the concurrence of the state banks - Banco de Costa Rica, Nacional and Popular, and of private banks like Scotiabank, and by other entities such as Grupo Mutual y la Compañía de Fuerza y Luz.