by: Mark Venegas, Real Estate Consultant
A while ago the Costa Rican government, in an effort to stop money laundering, implemented various restrictions, one was to make it difficult for foreigners to open a bank account here. Not until recently the only way for a foreigner, that does not yet have his/her residency card (DIMEX), to open a bank account with a local CR bank was to form a corporation (S.A.) and open an account under its name. Now, by an executive order from the Costa Rican Presidency, the “cuenta simplificada” was created, and the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) is the first to announce this possibility. If you don’t have a BCR office close by go into the closest bank and ask if they are offering the cuenta simplificada yet, soon other banks will be offering it, all you will need is your Passport and some $s. Although the max limit of the account is only $1,000, this is great news and will be convenient for those foreigners that have recently bought, or are thinking of buying a property here. With this account they can pay bills, make transfers, use the ATM, etc. Once their residency process finishes, and they are given their DIMEX residency card, they can then go and adjust the status of their account. It’s a small step, but in the right direction, for the Costa Rican government to help “simplify” the transition of those foreigners looking to make Costa Rica their new home.