Using Paypal in Costa Rica

Using Paypal in Costa RicaI have been living in Costa Rica for over a decade now and I have seen the country grow from when I first came to this lovely country. 

12 years ago, Costa Rica did not have much of an infrastructure when it came to the internet and especially, internet banking which brings me back to the issue of using Paypal.


Like many expats living in Costa Rica, they are certain things that I just cannot purchase in Costa Rica or that are available in Costa Rica but the markup and the taxes are so high that I simply refuse paying 3-4 times the retail price that I would find in the US.

Then, it became easier to purchase items online in places like Ebay, Amazon and various other places.  Combine that with Mailbox services like Aerocasilla and purchasing items just became a breeze.  I even have friends who use Paypal with their online sportsbook or for their sports betting software company if you can believe it. I then graduated from purchasing items to selling items and services online which is when I hit a snag.

You see, I use Paypal in Costa Rica.  Unfortunately, I no longer have a bank account in the United States so I had to link my Paypal account to my Banco de Costa Rica account.  This is great as it would just take money directly from my Costa Rican bank account, fund my Paypal account and Paypal would pay the merchant.

However, receiving money was a problem.  I have a small online business and sometimes, clients pay me and want to use a credit card or via paypal. Since I have a small business, it’s just not worth it for me to get a credit card merchant account so I just use Paypal.  Luckily for my wife, I was not able to withdraw money from my Paypal account so she would have a blast shopping online.

At first I was a bit surprised that you would have problems witdrawing money from you Paypal account in Costa Rica.  I mean, I have a friend in Senegal who has a paris virtuels business and he is able to withdraw from Paypal into his local bank anytime he wants.

No more.  I had been hearing in the last few years that you can withdraw cash from your Paypal account into your Banco Nacional account.

So I decided to go for it and the process was fairly easy.  So here are the steps that I took.

Instructions to Withdraw Monet from Paypal to Your Banco Nacional Account

Step 1.  Open a Banco Nacional Account, preferably a dollar account.

Step 2. Go to and to set up your internet account.

Banco Nacional de Costa Rica TokenStep 3. Go to Banco Nacional and tell them that you need to get a “Token” so you can transfer money from your Paypal account to your Banco Nacional account.

a.       You will need to have your online Banco Nacional login info

b.      The Cost of the “Token” is ?3000 or about $6

The clerk will then add the “Token” to your Online Banco Nacional account, give you your token which is a piece of plastic that gives out random numbers. and tell you to go home, login into your

Step 4.  Login to your Banco Nacional Account online

Step 5. Click from the top menu on “Servicios” and then click on “Afiliar Cuenta Paypal” and follow the directions.

Banco Nacional de Costa Rica Paypal Instructions

And now you are ready to transfer money from your Paypal account to your Banco Nacional account.  When you are ready to do a transfer, just login your Paypal account or your Banco Nacional account and just follow the directions.  Keep in mind that there is a 0.5% fee and the minimum fee is $11 USD.

About the Author – Frederick Saint-Jacques is an expat living in Costa Rica and loving it. He is married to Patricia who is from Costa Rica. They also have son who is currently in 2nd grade and have one cat and one dog. Frederick works as an internet marketing consultant and writes in his free time. You can contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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