The Importance of IBAN for Costa Rica’s Financial System

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and digital, how we handle financial transactions changes rapidly. One of the key developments in this area is adopting the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) system, which is now being implemented in Costa Rica.

IBAN is a standardized format for bank account numbers, making it easier to process international transactions. It has up to 34 alphanumeric characters, including the country code and the bank’s routing information. This allows for more accurate and efficient processing of payments, reducing the risk of errors and delays.

In the past, Costa Rica has used a different format for bank account numbers, which has made it challenging to process international transactions. This has been a significant obstacle for businesses operating in the country and individuals looking to make cross-border payments. However, with the adoption of IBAN, this will no longer be an issue.

The switch to IBAN will have several benefits for Costa Rica’s economy. For one, it will make it easier for businesses to trade with other countries, which will help to increase exports and create jobs. Additionally, it will help to attract more foreign investment to the country, as investors will have greater confidence in the stability and efficiency of Costa Rica’s financial system.

Another essential benefit of IBAN is that it will help to improve financial inclusion in the country. By making it easier to open bank accounts and conduct transactions, IBAN will help to bring more people into the formal financial system, which will help to reduce poverty and promote economic growth.

Costa Rica’s financial institutions must change their systems and processes to implement the IBAN system. This will involve updating their software and training their staff on the new system. However, the benefits of IBAN will far outweigh the costs of these changes.

NOTE: Costa Rica switched to IBAN. The Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR) announced that all client accounts in Costa Rica have changed to the international bank account format (IBAN).

Implementing this new model changes the length of the account number since it will go from 17 alphanumeric characters to 22. As explained by the BCCR, the length of an IBAN varies by country; for example, in Belgium, IBANs have 16 characters.

With this change, Costa Ricans will have a universal account number to receive money from the same bank, other banks in Costa Rica, and internationally.

The change to the new format was made in two stages: the first ended in 2017 and consisted of replacing the current client accounts with IBAN codes; the second focused on the financial institutions’ internal changes.

So starting August 1, you will no longer have a separate internal account number with your bank and a SINPE “Cuenta Cliente” for SINPE transactions – all will be replaced with an IBAN. So that you know, any favorite accounts you might have set in your online banking will be automatically updated for you.

In conclusion, adopting IBAN in Costa Rica is a positive development for the country’s economy and financial system. It will make processing international transactions easier, increase exports, attract foreign investment, and improve financial inclusion. The IBAN is expected to be implemented in the following months and fully operational next year.


-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]

Fill out the form below to determine your residency category. Or click here!

  • First Step
  • Final Step

Select all options that apply to you

Pensionado (Pension/Disability) Category

Rentista (Fixed Income) Category

Inversionista (Investor) Category

Family ties with a Costa Rican Resident/Citizen Category

My residency company let me down

I am not sure.

Personal Information

Looking for a Loan? – Click HERE.
Looking for Real Estate? – Click HERE.
Looking for Profitable Investments? – Click HERE.


Add Your Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.