Published and draft legislation - Costa Rica

Simplified Application Accounts

SUGEF 12-10 Agreement: Regulations for compliance with Act 8204

This new regulation allows financial institutions to not require the physical presence of customers in a branch office and that they present certain documents in order to open a Simplified Application Account (SAA).

SAAs are deposit accounts, opened by institutions for natural persons qualified as low risk with a streamlined opening procedure.

Their aim is to widen financial inclusion to segments of the population that have not had access to financial services whilst also promoting the efficient and secure use of the national payments system.

The new regulation was published on 17th August this year and will pass into law in November 2016.

The main changes to SAAs are as follows:

  • The financial institution must notify the customer at the outset or during the commercial relationship whether a physical visit is required or not.
  • If the customer does not comply, the institution should not open the account, product or service, make the transaction or have a commercial relationship.
  • A sworn income tax statement for the most recent tax period will be requested in the case of natural or legal persons with for-profit activities who are required to make a tax statement, high and medium-risk customers, and those who ought to be subject to greater scrutiny.
  • The information requirements in the case of low profile customers will be set by each banking institution, and approved by its own organ of administration.

The central bank of Costa Rica, BCCR, forecasts that SAAs will enable 35% of those citizens 15 or older who as of today are not in the formal financial system (1.4 million people) to open an SAA in a financial institution.