Using a debit card in Colombia

There is a question that is asked at retail stores in Colombia and nobody seems to know how to explain its meaning or the correct answer one should give to the cashier.
What does "Que quota" mean?  My wife is Colombian and she doesn't know what to say that will get through to the sales person.
The best we can figure is that they are asking what the fee is for using the card ( thinking of credit cards) but there is no fee for usage of a debit card ( it comes directly from your bank account).  I have asked at the bank and they don't seem to know either.

Often they are asking, how many payments (cuotas) do you want to divide the bill into?

In your case with the debit card, when they ask "¿Qué cuota?" you should just tell them, "Sin cuota", or just "Una cuota no más".

Not all cards in Colombia do - but some do - allow you to not pay all at once, but divide it into cuotas, usually some pre-set number like 3, 6, 9, 12 payments or even more for big-ticket items.  Many Colombians take advantage of this so they don't get big bills all at once that they have to pay, but instead spread out over a number of months.

Expats usually don't have to worry about this because on average, they make so much more than the average Colombian, and their credit or debit cards from a foreign (non-Colombian) bank generally do not have this "feature" anyway.  It all works out about the same (for a credit card) because the total amount is just carried over from month to month, subtracting whatever payments - but this is bad for the consumer if they have a high-interest card.

Most credit card interest rates are high in Colombia.  They range from a low of around 16% to over 25% and even more.  Here is a recent page showing some of the interest rates by card issuer: … e-credito/

Thank you for your quick reply.

You can stretch your card payments over several months.  You say one it all comes due next month, if you say three you pay over three months, if you say twelve they spread payments over twelve months evenly.  You also pay lots of monthly interest spreading the payments out over time.