Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Costa Rica. A much smaller percentage of businesses accept American Express or Discover. You should contact your credit card company or bank prior to visiting Costa Rica as they may place a security block for unusual foreign transaction if not. Some credit card companies will charge a 1 – 2% international transaction fee. You can often avoid this by changing your plan in advance or using a different credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees instead.
ATM machines are available in most towns. You will have to contact your bank in advance as most ATM cards are not set up for foreign transactions. Similar to credit cards, there is a chance you could be charged a foreign transaction fee.
Many small stores (pulparias) and small restaurants (sodas) do not accept credit cards. It is better to ask in advance if you do not see a sign indicating they accept credit cards.
Though it is occurring less frequently these days, some small stores, restaurants, hotels and tour operators will charge an additional fee to process your credit card transaction.
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