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.
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Credit card debt grew by 1.5% to a total of $1.482 billion, while the number of cards in circulation up to July 31, 2013 was 1,731,673.
A press release from the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade of Costa Rica reads:
The Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC) through the Department of Economic and Market Research has conducted its latest study on debit and credit cards.
Interest rates fixed for 20 years being offered by banks are increasing the demand for mortgages.
Four banks are currently promoting mortgage loans with fixed interest rates.
Credit for housing rose by almost 6% from February 2010 to February 2011, an increase which could accelerate at the end of the year because of these programs.
Effective February 15 the bank will reduce its interest rate for housing loans lower than $89.000 (¢50 million) by 2 percentage points.
Nacion.com reports on its website: "The Popular Bank also agreed to reduce its interest rates by 2 points starting on March 1.
These banks have joined the Bank of Costa Rica and the Bancredito Bank in reducing their rates at the request of the Government in order to deal with the economic crisis."
Starting February 15, a 2 percentage point decrease in the rates will come into effect for home and small and medium business loans with balances lower than $69,246."
Nacion.com says that "Said measure will last for 24 months, although it will be revised annually.
These measures are in response to the request from the Government that the banks reduce their rates in order to deal with the crisis.