Visa, the world’s largest payment network, signed its first licensing agreements in Myanmar with three domestic banks at Sedona Hotel in Yangon on November 3.
The domestic banks are Kanbawza, Co-operative and Myanmar Oriental.
The agreements will establish arrangements for Visa-branded payment cards to be accepted in Myanmar, a development that will support the growth of Myanmar’s financial infrastructure and help the country to integrate with the international economy.
Visa-branded cards will now be able to be used at automatic teller machines and point-of-sale machines at selected locations. By joining the Visa network, the banks agree to adhere to Visa’s network operating regulations and security standards, a press release said.
“We are proud to partner with Kanbawza, Co-operative, and Myanmar Oriental banks under the leadership of the Central Bank of Myanmar in leading the charge to enable the economic and societal benefits of electronic payments for Myanmar’s economy, its people and tourists,” said Mr Peter Maher, Visa Group country manager of Southeast Asia and Australasia.
“As Myanmar develops its financial infrastructure, we will work hand-in-hand with our partners to enable safe, secure and convenient electronic payments across the country,” he said.
Visa’s licensing agreement with the banks will bring immediate benefits to tourists who will be able to use their Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards in the country.
“Today’s event and announcement is an important milestone for Myanmar’s economic development and the development of the payment and settlement system which is one of the financial infrastructures in Myanmar,” said U Mg Mg Win, chairman of the Myanmar Payment Union.
“Visa’s licensing agreement with Kanbawza Bank, Co-operative Bank and Myanmar Oriental Bank will help and integrate Myanmar further into the global economy,” he said. He added that the partnership would help to connect Myanmar into the global electronic payment system.
“Due to this agreement, there will be greater financial inclusion in Myanmar to access digital currency, and this will lead the way towards the country’s economic development,” U Mg Mg Win said.
According to the most recent Visa Global Travel Intentions survey, 64 percent of international travellers prefer to pay by card when travelling in the Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, 53pc of respondents said they would withdraw cash from ATMs, if they were readily available in the destination country.
The Visa licensing agreement is a significant development for Myanmar ahead of international events, such as the Southeast Asian Games in December next year, the World Economic Forum for East Asia 2013, and the country’s 2014 chairmanship of ASEAN.
Mr Maher said Visa is committed to continuing to support the development of the country’s electronic payments infrastructure as international business and tourist arrivals grow at a rapid pace.
“These are three important banks [but] I’m sure there will be more banks in Myanmar to join with Visa in the future,” he added.