Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Here's something not to do

If you are a foreigner living in Costa Rica, you are likely to have a bank account here, and if you have a bank account here, you might even want to cash checks from abroad. I am going to suggest you do NOT go to BAC. I used to think they were a pretty good bank, but lately things have been going from bad to worse there. For example, I went to deposit a check in my account at the BAC over in San Pedro by the rotunda a couple of months ago, and the woman told me to put my account number and my signature on the back of the check. When I did that, she then said they probably wouldn't cash the check because I had signed it. WTF? I don't know what firma means to you, but to me, it means signature. If she had wanted me to simply spell out my name, I could have done that. (The check eventually did cash, by the way.)

Now yesterday, I get another check, which was not delivered by Interlink like they are supposed to do because they have a new driver and he didn't know what to do with my mail since I wasn't here (our regular guy usually left it in the yard, but with the high winds that wouldn't have been a great idea). So I went over there to pick it up, and since I was already in San Pedro, thought I could just deposit this check in the bank over there. Wrong, wrong, wrongity wrong wrong.

The teller asks me to put my account number and my name on the back of the check. This time, I know not to actually sign my name, but I make a mistake writing my account number. I scratch it out, and then continue writing the correct number. Oh no no no no no. You cannot do this, he says. You can't make a mistake. So he returns my check, and really quite an asshat about the whole thing. Esposo and I go inside the bank, try to talk to customer disservice, and get nowhere. I despise those people. Those of you who live here know what this means -- I have to get another check cut from the States, get it sent down here (via Interlink, so that should take two weeks), then get it cashed in another 15-20 days. Can you all say it with me? FUCK!!!!!

The thing that bothered me most about BAC was their attitude. Yes, it was my mistake, but no one could explain the policy whereby some branches make you put your own account number on the back and other branches do it for you. No one had the least bit of sympathy or seemed to give a shit less. That is what bothered me. So I'm about done with them. If anyone else has a bank here they like (Citibank and Banco Nacional are out of the question), please let me know. I'm thinking of Banco San Jose BCR -- does anyone else use/like it? Help! Agh!


  1. Personally, I don't think it matters the bank, they ALL seem to have their random and unique HORROR stories. I SO feel your pain. This was my pain last week

    ps. Good Luck, I still think it's somewhat of a 'gringo' thing....but I could be wrong.

  2. Oh Michael, I just read your post. I'm so sorry! Sometimes you just have to shake your head, laugh or cry or both. Another fun one is a) trying to get a checking account here, b) and being able to actually send those checks outside of the country so that someone abroad can cash them. Ha! HAHAHAHAHA! It took years to get a debit card that could be used to pay for things outside of Costa Rica, and they still don't have "cash back" at the stores (I fondly remember that back when I lived in California 8 years ago -- still not in Costa Rica! What a surprise!).