Myanmar makes progress in int’l payment card launching

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Myanmar launched Easi Travel Master Card Monday to facilitate its citizens traveling abroad in payment and the first ever event signified the progress of its banking industry.

The Easi Travel Master Card was launched by the private-run Cooperative Bank (CB) with the cooperation of Master Card World Wide.

An amount ranging from 50 U.S. dollars to 5,000 U.S. dollars are prescribed to be prepaid for the use of the card.

Master Card had been introduced in November 2012 for foreigners visiting Myanmar as the first international electronic payment card in the country and the CB Bank was the first authorized to offer services with the card to accommodate the growth of business and tourist sectors.

Tourist and business travelers with Master card, Maestro or Cirrus card are able to withdraw money in local currency (Kyat) at 36 CB Bank’s ATMs across the country, including that in Yangon International Airport.

The introduction of Master Card was followed by that of Visa card in December, 2012, China Union Pay (CUP) card in February 2013 and Japan Credit Bureau (JCB) card in September 2013 in cooperation with more such private banks as Kanbawza Bank and Oriental Bank to facilitate foreign travelers in domestic payment.

These banks offer services at the banks’ automatic tellers machine (ATM) and points-of-sale.

The introduction of the four international payment cards was a follow-up program of MPU (Myanmar Payment Union) card which was offered for local citizens for domestic use.

The move-in of the international bank cards also came after the United States eased some financial sanctions on the country, before which foreign visitors were unable to use international credit cards on account of such sanctions on money transactions since 2003.

Myanmar’s monetary reform is made in coordination with member banks of Myanmar Payment Union (MPU), the Central Bank of Myanmar, Internal Revenue Department, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and Myanmar Information Technology (MIT) Co..

MPU was established in September 2011 by 17 domestic banks in Myanmar including three state-owned and 14 private ones and starting September 2012, MPU debit card was introduced for services domestically.

In addition to allowing in international e-payment cards, Myanmar is also making efforts to introduce its domestic MPU card for use in foreign countries in 2014 to facilitate Myanmar citizens traveling abroad.

International banking cards are being invited to join in MPU member bank network and sign agreement with Myanmar for the e- payment services abroad.

Meanwhile, as a continued measure of easing its financial sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department allowed in late February four Myanmar state and private banks access to American financial system.

There is a total of 19 private banks and four state-owned banks in Myanmar.

Source: Mizzima News Myanmar

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