CR Business archives
Pay Pal offers some benefits
A service of A.M. Costa Rica

Pay Pal offers some benefits

By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Newspapers
Posted Nov. 17, 2010

To Pay Pal or not to Pay Pal is the big question among expat business folks here.

There ought to be a rule that eliminates Pay Pal as cocktail party conversation along with religion and all the other taboos. People have strong opinions.

At A.M.Costa Rica, the seven years of experience has been generally good. Only once did
Pay Pal inexplicably freeze a $79 payment for two weeks. The company sought information
Pay Pal logo
from us, ruminated and then released the money. The payment was from a long-time customer.

There are other online payment systems, including one just adopted by Banco Nacional. That system is called SafetyPay, but it seems more designed for Ticos who want to make payments from their local bank account to merchants somewhere outside Costa Rica.

A lot of the online payment systems were created to support online gambling, so their customer service sometimes is lacking for other uses.

The Bank of Scotland operated and just sold a PayPal competitor called World Pay. The new owners are Advent International and Bain Capital. They have promised to upgrade the technology. The bank was forced to sell due to rules adopted during the financial crisis. It said the business was profitable.

A unique system is e-gold, which monetizes customer accounts in gold and other precious metals. The company operators have been convicted in U.S. District court of illegally operating a money transfer system. The penalties were light, and the firm seems to be back in business. The basic allegation was that the company did not know its customers and that many were scamsters or other varieties of crooks. For those with little faith in the U.S.dollar, this would seem to be something to check out.

A.M. Costa Rica uses Pay Pal for online payments and also credit card payments. The firm has high security standards that this company cannot match in Costa Rica.

The newspaper Pay Pal account is linked, as per their requirements, to a Stateside bank account, but that is hardly ever used. Instead, any excess Pay Pal deposits can be withdrawn with a debit card at an ATM in Costa Rica and deposited in the company accounts at Banco Nacional.

Unfortunately, the state banks here do  not work with Pay Pal, and Pay Pal does not list the colon as one of the 23 currencies its supports. That is why to fully validate an account a Pay Pal customers has to have an account in one of the 44 countries where banks interface with the service. Without a linked bank account,customers can only receive and send money. They cannot obtain a debit card or some other benefits.

LIke credit card companies, Pay Pal charges a small commission.

Most of the problems with Pay Pal took place before the company was sold to eBay, but some negative opinions linger.

Copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2010, a Costa Rican publishing company.
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