Thanks;MasterCard World Wide
Singapore, 29 May 2013 – One of the largest banks in Myanmar, Kanbawza Bank Limited (KBZ Bank), will now be accepting MasterCard payments cards at ATMs throughout the country, following a succession of similar achievements which MasterCard has announced over the past 8 months, less than a year since entering the Myanmar market.
KBZ Bank has the largest branch network in Myanmar and operates 55 ATMs across the country in states such as Yangon, Mandalay and Shan* at convenient locations such as supermarkets, airports, restaurants, hotels and shopping centers. With KBZ Bank ATM acceptance, this brings to 140 the number of active ATM’s in Myanmar that accept MasterCard and Maestro/Cirrus cards.
Mr. Antonio Corro, country manager, Thailand and Myanmar, MasterCard, said apart from being extremely convenient for the huge number of visitors expected this year—including at next month’s historic World Economic Forum— increasing ATM acceptance would help facilitate the process of financial inclusion for a nation that mostly relies on cash transactions.
“Our intention in Myanmar since becoming operational has been to steadily build up its payments infrastructure, its capability, and facilitate financial inclusion. That means expanding the number of points where safe and easy transactions can be made, and supporting businesses that are part of this growing economy,” Corro said.
MasterCard was the first international payments network to issue a license to a Myanmar bank in September last year, paving the way international payment cards to be accepted in the country for the first time. In November, MasterCard and Co-operative Bank Ltd (CB Bank) teamed up to launch the first ATM transaction at one of the bank’s Yangon ATMs.
Indeed, the country has seen an amazing rate of economic growth since July 2012 when the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) eased sanctions which previously prohibited Myanmar from connecting to the global economy. This is only set to improve further with the anticipated end of all US sanctions following the historic presidential visit of Thein Sein to the White House recently.
As a country, Myanmar is at the very early stages of a financial reform and they’re a 100% cash-driven economy. However what’s promising is that the Government leaders and bureaucrats have a clear vision of how they’d like to drive financial inclusion, reduce cash, drive change and efficiency, and drive e-commerce and mobile payments.
Critically, the country has a majority of people who remain unbanked. Technology such as electronic payments will be not only be crucial in helping Myanmar connect to the global economy, facilitating business activity, but also in creating a better life for its citizens, of which less than 10% have access to financial services.
“Financial inclusion will give the people of Myanmar access to services and resources that are needed to participate in their emerging economy, services that we often take for granted, but which are instrumental in achieving the country’s goals and aspirations. That’s where MasterCard can help and we already have – and we will continue working with Myanmar’s financial institutions to support the expansion of electronic payments,” Corro added.
It is expected that more than 500 restaurants, retail outlets and hotels in Myanmar will be accepting credit cards by the end of the year, following the rollout of Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals in April with CB Bank, which included the national budget airline Golden Myanmar Airlines.
There are now currently five MasterCard member banks in Myanmar: Co-Operative Bank Ltd; Kanbawza Bank Ltd; United Amara Bank Ltd; Myanma Apex Bank Ltd; and, Myanmar Citizens Bank Ltd. MasterCard is expecting to announce new bank license agreements in the near future.
POS acceptance will give merchants in Myanmar access to electronic commerce and the ability to participate in the open, global payments system that MasterCard enables. These merchants will also benefit from being part of a network of thousands of issuing and acquiring financial institutions and their partners. There are already 72 POS acceptance terminals in Yangon & Nay Pyi Taw which accept MasterCard cards.