Dec 8, 2012

Visa to promote mobile payment

Visa Inc seeks to promote mobile payments in Myanmar, believing the country will move to adopt emerging financial infrastructures to enable its mostly rural population to access such payments and other banking services.

"More than 1 billion people in emerging economies do not have a bank account, but they do have a mobile phone, and that number is expected to reach 1.7 billion in 2012," said Peter Maher, Visa Group country manager for Southeast Asia and Australasia.

On Tuesday, it will host the Mobile and Electronic Payments Conference 2012 to expand its financial services in Myanmar. The event will feature a range of experts in electronic |and mobile payments and introduce attendees to the macroeconomic benefits that electronic payments bring, Maher said.

The conference will also examine various business models and technologies for mobile payments. It will be held at the Myanmar International Convention Centre in Nay Pyi Taw.

The conference will cover the full scope of mobile payments, including an in-depth discussion on branchless banking as a "leapfrog" infrastructure solution that can reach a large area of the population previously under-served by traditional brick-and-mortar retail banking outlets.

Maher added that mobile payments would be a game changer in advancing the electronic-payments infrastructure of emerging markets like Myanmar.

"While mobile-phone penetration is still low in Myanmar, with less than 2 per cent of the population having access to mobiles, we expect dramatic expansion in the availability of mobile devices in the next 18 to 24 months," he said.

Government officials, financial institutions, international development organisations and other industry groups have been invited to the conference, which will offer presentations, case studies, demos and one-on-one question-and-answer sessions to educate and inform participants about mobile payments and branchless banking. In addition to discussing how branchless banking can work, Visa executives and others will examine how effective regulation of mobile payments can be essential to the success of any mobile payment system.

Policy-makers will also have the chance to understand current mobile-payment regulation better as the industry evolves, including trends and examples of best practices around the world. Highlighting this discussion will be a presentation by Hayder Al-Bagdadi, the head of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion's Mobile Financial Services Working Group.

In the final panel discussion, titled "What Does this Mean for Myanmar?", several civil-society thought leaders in Myanmar will join Visa executives in a talk about how electronic and mobile payments can benefit all citizens of the country.

Source: The Nation