Majority of Myanmar People Want Access to Banking and Cashless Payment Methods

YANGON — The majority of people in Myanmar want access to banking services and cashless payment methods, such as credit and ATM cards, mobile payments, contactless payments and payment via QR codes, according to Visa’s Financial Education for Sustainable Growth Study.

The Study, conducted recently in Myanmar by global payments technology company Visa, is part of an effort by the company to understand the perceptions, attitudes and behaviors of Myanmar people on money, banking, and payments.

The study surveyed 1,044, people across Yangon, Mandalay, Taunggyi, Pathein and Magway, followed by eight one-on-one interviews in August 2017.

Arturo Planell, Country Manager of Visa Myanmar said despite the fact that cash remains the most commonly used form of payment in Myanmar, there’s a strong appetite for electronic payments which would provide significant benefits to consumers, merchants and the economy.

“There is so much for Myanmar to gain by moving away from cash to digital payments. At a micro level, consumers will enjoy fast, secure and reliable electronic payments with immediate access to the funds held at the bank or to a line of credit. For merchants, electronic payments will provide an enhanced purchasing experience, reduced cash and check handling costs, and access to a global pool of customers with guaranteed payment.”

The Study shows that 64 percent of Myanmar people in five urban areas of the country are interested in opening a bank account and using modern payment methods. When it comes to payment cards, only two percent of those surveyed currently own credit, debit, and bank prepaid cards. However, an additional 11 percent intend to apply for payment cards in the future, representing a multi-fold growth over the current penetration.

The key motivators to get a payment card are to be in tune with times and to access a simpler means of payment. Respondents also cited that it is safer to carry cards than large amounts of cash and more convenient as they would not have to deal with small change.

Even though Myanmar people rely heavily on cash for daily transactions, almost 80 percent of the people in Myanmar’s urban areas believe that Myanmar has the potential to become a cashless society within the next seven years.

The Study also showed that Myanmar people are interested in using emerging forms of payments, such as contactless payments. This is a system where people can make payments by tapping their payment card or phone on point of sales terminal, instead of swiping or inserting their cards. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are examples of contactless payment services that use their respective mobile devices and its built in Near Field Communication (NFC) to complete a transaction wirelessly.

Fifty percent of the Myanmar people surveyed said they would like to use this form of payment.

Similarly, nearly one-fifth of respondents said that they are interested in using QR payments for the ease of use and quicker transactions.

“While consumers are eager to try and adopt new form of payments, it is equally important to elevate financial literacy. After all, equipping consumers with an understanding of how modern payment methods work is a fundamental pre-requisite for sustainable economic growth and for Myanmar to fully reap the benefits of a digital economy,” Mr. Planell concluded.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

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