Daily Archives: June 5, 2014

Interesting Fact and way off blog topic

I run the blog and I think it is a cool fact so I am going to share it. :-)

In the Wizard of Oz The Wicked Witch’s death certificate is dated May, 6 1938, which marked the 20th anniversary of L. Frank Baum’s death.

Pura Vida!

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How to Avoid Personal Banking Disasters in Costa Rica

Coopenae Bank Costa Rica

Personal banking at the large state-sponsored institutions in Costa Rica is not for the squeamish. There are many horror stories among expatriates about frozen funds, incorrect account information, blocked debit cards, lost term deposits, excessive red tape, etc. Most of the time, these problems can be avoided in the first place with the assistance of a bilingual account executive who really cares. Asdrubal Zamora of credit union COOPENAE tells us more about this:

About 30 years ago, I remember going to a state-sponsored bank and standing in line for over an hour. More than 15 years later, I returned to that bank and endured a similar experience. In late 2013, I happened to visit that same bank and noticed that the building had been nicely remodeled, but the long lines and slow customer service had not changed at all, which did not surprise me.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity of listening to expatriates in Costa Rica talk about their experiences in dealing with state-sponsored banks. I am going to share some of them, and I should mention that they are not the usual complaints about long waiting lines, dubious service and excessive red tape: The following experiences are caused by the sad fact that major language and culture barriers persist at state-sponsored banks to this very day.

1 – Residency Status and the Future of Personal Banking in Costa Rica

Every day, I get inquiries by expats who ask about the possibility of opening a personal account or a fixed term deposit such as a Certificate of Deposit (CD). In general, this will require a residency permit; in fact, even some who opened bank accounts in Costa Rica with just their passports in the past may have troubles using the SINPE transfer system these days.

What everyone should be aware of is that inquiring about the possibility of opening an account is a good first step. Each case may be different, and there may be a chance to open an account, but it is highly recommended to do it. The current political climate is ripe for the creation of new taxes and levies, which in the future may very well apply to expats who wish to open bank accounts. Personal banking in Costa Rica is bound to get more restrictive and invasive in the future, which is why expats should try to get their accounts now so that they can be grandfathered later.

2 – The Frustration of Debit Cards Not Working Overseas

One of the most unfortunate situations travelers can run into is having their debit or credit cards declined abroad. Imagine going back home and trying to access funds deposited in Costa Rica, only to find out that it is impossible. On top of that, there’s also the likelihood of the card being blocked upon return.

Account executives must be notified when a debit card is intended to be used outside of Costa Rica, but this is something that many expat account holders are not aware of because they are never notified inasmuch. There goes the language and cultural barrier again, but the fact is that must be done at all banks, I always tell my clients to contact us before they travel to activate their cards overseas, and to also keep all their purchase and payment receipts, which must be attached to all claims and chargebacks within one month.

3 – Zombie Certificates of Deposit in Costa Rica

An expat couple once contacted me for assistance in transferring their CD, which was issued by a state-sponsored bank, into a COOPENAE account. On the maturity and expiration date of the contract, they personally went to their bank and were not able to get cash in their CD. The problem? It was set to renew automatically; the account holders were expected to notify the bank well in advance to prevent this feature from being triggered.

The couple was able to withdraw the funds and terminate the CD the next day; albeit by having to pay an expensive penalty. This is what I tell my clients: If you are going to be away from Costa Rica when your term deposit matures, it is better to be able to renegotiate the terms than to have renew by default. In terms of customer service, the bank should be making an effort to contact the CD holders beforehand to notify them of the upcoming maturity and expiration.

4 – Exorbitant Credit Card Rates and Unreasonable Collateral

Credit card rates in Costa Rica tend to be extremely high. We are talking about 23 to 52 percent, depending on the bank. Under such terms, I cannot recommend them. Still, some people like them and such was the case with this expat couple who wanted to transfer their money from their bank into COOPENAE so that they could take advantage of certain investments that were performing well at the time. It turns out that their money was tied up because their CD served as a collateral for their high-interest credit card!

Naturally, the couple’s request to cancel their credit card and liberate the funds in their CD was denied by the stuffy state-sponsored bank, which had created a Catch-22 situation by using the term deposit as collateral for the credit card. In the end, I went to the bank and performed the required, yet confusing, steps on behalf of the couple: Paying off the balance on the card with funds outside of the collateral, terminating the credit account, turning over the CD to my clients, and finally having them endorse it to my bank. It is important to remember that physical bonds in Costa Rica are as negotiable as check.

The lesson here is that complex personal banking transactions such as putting up term deposits as guarantees for credit cards should not be attempted by expats who are not familiar with the language or the system. It’s ok to handle certain basic transactions in rudimentary Spanish or English, but more involved procedures require bilingual assistance.

5 – The Case of the Lost CD and the Four-Year Wait

So an expat CD investor asked for a replacement since he lost the original paper certificate. It should be noted that CDs in Costa Rica, whether they are issued by a state-sponsored or private bank, can be obtained in physical or virtual (electronic) formats. Investors who take their physical CDs are responsible for their safekeeping.

By law, investors who lose their physical CDs in Costa Rica must wait four years until they see get their money, and only after filing a report with OIJ, sitting down with a notary to issue a public affidavit, and publishing the latter in the newspaper of record. This should not have to happen since:

  • Banks should be encouraging virtual CDs, which are eco-friendly and cannot be lost.
  • Virtual CDs promote savings and disciplined investing since they cannot be negotiated as checks before maturity.
  • Banks should offer physical CD investors to keep custody of their paper certificates in their safe or strongbox.

For more information about COOPENAE’s services and investment options, please contact Mr. Zamora directly.

Originally posted at http://news.co.cr/how-to-avoid-personal-banking-disasters-in-costa-rica/34452/

Pura Vida!

 

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Volunteer Opportunity

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY (Please email Henry directly if you would like to help):

Hello you all, I hope this message finds you well.

Invenio needs your help with a project we are planning with a group of students that need to finish with the levels of English in order to get graduated. The idea is that instead of being in regular classes, they can go out there and interact with an English native speaker.

You and the student select the best day and time to meet. You also select the topics or the activities you are going to do. The idea is for them to improve their level of English they have.

Can you please, help us and at the same time can you spread the word?

Thanks and have a great day…

Henry Méndez Pérez
English Department Coordinator
Invenio
henrymendez90@hotmail.com

Categories: Charity, Costa Rica Life Experience, Travel | Leave a comment

Joke of the day

Four expectant fathers pace in a hospital waiting room while their wives are in labor. The nurse enters and tells the first man, “Congratulations, you’re the father of twins.”

“What a coincidence,” the man says. “I work for the Minnesota Twins baseball team.”

A little later, the nurse returns and tells the second man, “You are the father of triplets.”

“That’s really an incredible coincidence,” he answers. “I work for the 3M Corporation.”

An hour later, the nurse tells the third man that his wife has just given birth to quadruplets.

The man says, “I don’t believe it! I work for the Four Seasons. What a coincidence!”

After hearing this, everyone’s attention turns to the fourth guy, who has just fainted. He slowly regains consciousness and whispers, “I should have never taken that job at Millennium Computers.”

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Joke of the day

Microsoft’s Latest Venture

 

    News just in of Microsoft’s latest venture: Microsoft Corporation has taken another step toward dominating every aspect of American life with the introduction of Contraceptive98, a suite of applications designed for users who engage in sex. Microsoft has been a pioneer in peer-to-peer connectivity and plug and play.

    It believes these technologies will give it substantial leverage in penetrating the copulation enhancement market. The product addresses two important user concerns: the need for virus protection and the need for a firewall to ensure the non-propagation of human beings.

    The Contraceptive98 suite consists of three products: Condom98, DeFetus 1.0 (from Sementec), and AIDScan 2.1 (from Norton Utilities). A free copy of Intercourse Explorer 4.0 is bundled in the package. The suite also comes in two expanded versions. Contraceptive98 Professional is the Client/Server edition, for professionals in the sexual services sector. Contraceptive98 Small Business Edition is a package for startups, aimed at the housewife and gigolo niches.

    While Contraceptive98 does not address nontraditional copulatory channels, future plug-ins are planned for next year.

    OPERATION: Only one node in a peer-to-peer connection needs to install the package.

    At installation, the Condom98 software checks for minimum hardware. If the user meets the requirements, the product installs and is sufficiently scaleable to meet most requirements. After installation, operation commences. One precaution is that the user must be sure they have sufficient RAM to complete the session. When the session is complete, a disconnect is initiated, and the user gets the message, it is now safe to turn off your partner.

    DRAWBACKS: Usability testers report that frequent failures were a major concern during beta testing. General Protection Fault was the most serious error encountered. Early versions had numerous bugs, but most of these have been eliminated. The product needs to be installed each time its used.

    CONCLUSION: Contraceptive98 is a robust product. Despite its drawbacks, it is reasonably good value for its $49.95 price tag, and is far superior to its shareware version. Hopefully, future releases (of the software, that is) will add missing functionality, such as Backout and Restore, uninterruptible Power Supply and Onboard Camera.

    Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is optimistic that “Our contraceptive products will help users do to each other what we’ve been doing to our customers for years.”

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YouTube video of the day The Beaches

Pura Vida!

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Joke of the day

One day a man goes to a pet shop to buy a parrot. The assistant takes the man to the parrot section and asks the man to choose one. The man asks, ”How much is the yellow one?”

The assistant says, ”$2000.” The man is shocked and asks the assistant why it’s so expensive. The assistant explains, ”This parrot is a very special one. He knows typewriting and can type really fast.”

”What about the green one?” the man asks.

The assistant says, ”He costs $5000 because he knows typewriting and can answer incoming telephone calls and takes notes.”

”What about the red one?” the man asks.

The assistant says, ”That one’s $10,000.”

The man says, ”What does HE do?”

The assistant says, ”I don’t know, but the other two call him boss.”

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Joke for the day

Ouch! This one would get you slapped at the very least!

A lawyer was just waking up from anesthesia after surgery, and his wife was sitting by his side. His eyes fluttered open and he said, “You’re beautiful!” and then he fell asleep again. His wife had never heard him say that so she stayed by his side.

A couple of minutes later, his eyes fluttered open and he said, “You’re cute!” Well, the wife was dissapointed because instead of “beautiful,” it was “cute.” She asked, “What happened to ‘beautiful’?” His reply was “The drugs are wearing off!”

Pura Vida!

 

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YouTube Video of the day

 

I so want to do that water jet thing! Oh yea. Love to know where I can do that! Where people Where???????

Pura Vida!

 

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Food Chick Tip of the Day

Go to The Food Chick Facebook page and give her a like!

Today’s Chick Tip….this is a fantastic mix that can take on many different forms; side dish, sandwich topping or salad topping! The best part, it is oh so easy to put together and no recipe needed!

Today’s mix combines cucumbers, mini bell peppers, tomatoes, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar (or your favorite), salt and pepper to taste and the juice of one lemon. All seasonings are to taste., so taste away!

As a salad, toss with your favorite greens – no additional dressing needed!

In a sandwich, combine with shredded chicken and pack in a pita!

Categories: Food Chick | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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