In Costa Rica, you rarely receive bills in the mail. Instead, motorcycle messengers will drop them off in your mailbox or slip them between the slats of your front gate. Most paper bills arrive at different times of the month. Always keep track of due dates, as grace periods are short for utilities and getting your water, electricity or phone turned back on can take weeks. Keep in mind that personal checks are seldom used for bill payment, as the mail system can be slow. Tip: Instead of waiting for a paper bill to arrive, take your account number and pay the bill around the time it was due the previous month. This ensures you won’t miss a payment due to delayed delivery.
Cash and Credit Card
A few companies, like Sky satellite TV, accept credit card payments via automatic debit systems, but most utility and service companies only take cash. Likewise, you cannot pay by debit card. Your cash payment may be made by direct deposit into the company's account or at a utility payment center.
One way to pay bills is to line up at the bank and pay at the teller window. Have your utility bills handy, and the bank employee will pay them, either by withdrawing money from your personal account or with the cash you have on hand. You'll receive a receipt for each cancelled payment. Always keep your receipts in a safe location for at least one year after payment. You can make utility payments at all public banks (Banco Nacional, BCR and Banco Popular) and some private banks.
Utility Payment Locations
Many supermarkets and pharmacies are equipped to accept payments for major utilities and services – water, electricity, telephone, Internet, cell phone, and cable television. Most Walmarts, Perimercados and Mas X Menos supermarkets have Servimas stations, where you can also pay credit card bills and other monthly fees. Like at a bank, you will receive a voucher for your canceled bill.
The newest, and easiest way to pay your bills is through your bank's online banking system. Even if Internet banking is available only in Spanish, this can be a simple process. Just ask the bank for a step-by-step tutorial, and you'll soon have the payment process down pat.
When you login to your account, you'll be able to access all bills from companies associated with the online system. This usually includes ICE, Fuerza y Luz, AyA, CableTica, Amnet, the Caja, and other national companies. Accessing your bills online is very convenient, especially considering paper copies may get destroyed during inclement weather. You will pay each bill individually, and payments will be deducted from whichever account you indicate. You should always print out your payment confirmation, although another advantage of paying your bills online is that you leave a "paper trail" and can re-print old proofs of payment.
If you pay your bills online, take precautions to safeguard your identity and finances. Only log in from home – never from an Internet cafe. If possible, don't use an unsecured wireless connection, even if it's your home network. Finally, always verify that you're logged into a secure system: check that the URL begins with https://
Useful Phone Numbers
- Amnet: 2210-2929
- AyA: 800-REPORTE (800-7376783) / 2242-5000
- CableTica: 2520-7777 / 2210-1450
- ICE: 1115
- RACSA: 800-NAVEGAR
- SKY: 0800-052-1539