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How to send money to Costa Rica

How to send money to Costa RicaDo you need to send money to Costa Rica? Is it easy to wire money to someone else to make payments?

We started doing property management for quite a few clients who bought a property through our office many years ago. Those homes are not rentals but used by their owners whenever they come to Costa Rica.

For some, it is necessary to send money to Costa Rica once in a while. Due to the monthly maintenance cost of these properties, such as caretaker, power, water etc.

Try to send money to Costa Rica and you’ll see it’s not so easy.

That incited us to introduce these clients to Scotiabank the Costa Rica for easy money traffic between us. By sending those clients to the bank, we created an easy going attitude toward our clients. Scotiabank, at the time, offered quality services and made the transfer of funds easy for us.


When Banco Interfin fused with Scotiabank, all interest to serve English spoken customers was lost. They started alienating these customers until today, no matter how hard they try not to.

Scotiabank doesn’t have a website in English anymore. So those who do not speak or read Spanish cannot use their internet banking system. You’d assume that a bank with a Canadian name, would have their online systems in the English language. Well, shame on Scotiabank. The Banco de Costa Rica, a government-owned bank, DOES have its website in English.

A couple of weeks ago, a property management client was in the country and I asked him to go to the Lindora branch in Santa Ana. The bank had a form that allows the clients to ask his/her banker to transfer the X dollars from his bank account to my bank account, whenever needed, by email. That way, there were no wire fee charges.

No speak Spanish

Nobody at the bank knew what he was talking about. So I had to spend the time to take the client to the Multiplaza branch in Escazu to get the form filled out. It got approved by the grace of the manager. And only because I explained to him that the customer How to send money to Costa Ricacannot use their internet banking system for lack knowledge of the Spanish language (yes, the clients’ own fault!).

Getting the runaround

The first transfer took numerous calls and emails while the caretaker needed his salary. As a shortcut, we decided to use Western Union to send for more money. That was an even more difficult: my name was spelled wrong and even though I had the transaction number and the exact amount, they wouldn’t pay out.

On top of that problem, after we had our client send money to Costa Rica several times, they wanted to know everything about the client, us, the money and other information, like we were laundering money. Be aware that our client never sent more than about $1,000/month.

Besides, the Western Union branches all start the day with $0 in the cash register and to pay you out they need to receive deposits first and they didn’t have any money. I visited 5 different Western Union branches (at the Mas X Menos and Pali supermarkets) to get the money. I wasted 4 hours driving from store to store.

Send money to Costa Rica often

If you need to send money to Costa Rica often, set this up when you’re in the country. If you have to send money to your property manager, set up a bank account at the same bank as your property manager. Make sure you have a formal agreement with your property manager. If you don’t and the bank authorities see this money coming in now and then, they’ll accuse you of money laundering.

How to send money to Costa RicaThe easy way

Thanks to my dear friend Leo from Atlanta, who had to send me some money to pay for the guards at the Sonesta One Jaco. Leo found a relatively simple and cheap solution: Xoom

Xoom is a great online service, only for wiring personal funds and it is not allowed to use it commercially. They have connected with BAC San Jose and Citibank (Now Scotiabank). They offer 144 locations in Costa Rica for money pickup in less than 15 minutes (within banking hours). Their charges are very low. They have a Fee Calculator on their website.

Check also on Money Gram.

You can make the deposit by taking the money out of your own bank account or by using your credit card but each has a different fee. Don’t use this service to send the money you will need to purchase your property in Costa Rica, please use an escrow service for that, there are plenty of ways to use an escrow in Costa Rica.

Property management is a royal pain in the butt and not worth the hassle unless you have a vacation rental. Contact us to buy a vacation home now.

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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon. If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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