Oct 19, 2012

Myanmar introduces int'l bank card services for first time

Myanmar has allowed introducing services for four international bank cards -- Visa, Master, CUP ( China Union Payment) and JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) for the first time to facilitate foreign travelers in domestic payment as a follow-up program of MPU (Myanmar Payment Union) card for local citizens in September, official media reported Friday.

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

The MPT and the MIT will work for technology and communication services required for launching the international card services at each member bank of MPU and their Automatic Teller machines (ATMs) and for usage of international payment cards at hotels and restaurants, the report said, adding that the Central Bank will supervise the card usage.

The move is timely made in preparation for the upcoming Myanmar- hosted 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in late 2013.

Allowing international bank cards to operate in the country would be another step forward for Myanmar's banking sector and would have positive improvement in tourist industry of the nation that could attract more foreign investors, bankers said.

At present, 17 private banks have participated in the MPU program and all private banks would join soon.

Initially, ATM has begun service in November 2011 with six private banks.

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

The move-in of the international bank cards 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.

After President U Thein Sein's civilian government initiated political and economic reforms, the U.S. has begun easing such restrictions since early this year.

Source: Xinhua