Friday, October 28, 2016
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Myanmar bank not the problem, says Visa

Pedestrians walk by CB Bank in downtown Yangon. (The Myanmar Times)Pedestrians walk by CB Bank in downtown Yangon. (The Myanmar Times)

Following reports of customer complaints over faulty Visa card transactions at ATMs from Co-operative Bank, Visa Inc told The Myanmar Times that the blame lay not with Visa or CB but instead with the cardholders and issuing banks.

“Most of the issues with transaction declines were done by the issuing banks for reasons such as ‘insufficient funds,’ ‘incorrect PIN’ or simply ‘do not honour’,” Erin Steinhauer, Visa’s head of corporate relations for Southeast Asia, said on January 4.

“We conclude that the declines were of no faults of the acquiring bank [CB], the ATM machines or VisaNet.”

On December 27, the managing director of CB, U Pe Myint, told The Myanmar Times that CB had been slammed with customer complaints over faulty withdrawals from Visa customers, as “cardholders cannot get their money due to limitations on the machines”.

He added that CB “explained the consequences” of the difficulties they were experiencing with Visa transactions, and had set up a hotline for customer care. “We’ve contacted Visa to make repairs,” he said on December 27.

However, Visa denied hearing of any problems from CB. “We haven’t seen any complaints from CB in the past or complaints from customers, so that was really surprising to us,” Ms Steinhauer said.

Visa found in their investigation of transaction information on January 4 that all failed transactions since the go-live date of December 12 were “due to card issuer rejection” and that “Visa wouldn’t have a role in card issuer rejection”, Ms Steinhauer said.

Ms Steinhauer explained that card issuer rejections are when the card’s issuing bank rejects the transaction. Visa does not know which banks are responsible for the declines and “they could be from anywhere”, she said.

Visa would not give any form of their transactional data from CB to The Myanmar Times and declined to comment on the frequency of declines.

When The Myanmar Times contacted CB after Visa’s investigation of their transactions, U Pe Myint said the bank’s ATMs were still experiencing technical difficulties with Visa cards.

“Sometimes [a cardholder] cannot withdraw money,” he said on January 4.

“Sometimes they forgot their PIN number, sometimes it’s IT problems.”

To manage cross border ATM processing, Visa partnered with Planet Payment to connect their domestic ATMs to VisaNet. On December 26, Philip Beck, chairman and chief executive officer of Planet Payment, told Thai newspaper The Nation that Visa’s processing system enables payments to meet the needs of particular markets.

But despite Visa’s partnership with Planet Payment, CB’s “network goes down, the machines do not work properly and then [the cardholder] cannot withdraw money from the ATMs”, U Pe Myint said on January 4.

“Sometimes the network goes down for three minutes at a time,” he added.

Visa began pilot tests with ATMs in Myanmar three weeks ago. Kanbawza Bank, Visa’s second domestic partner, has not reported any problems with ATM transactions to either The Myanmar Times or to Visa.

On December 4, a journalist writing for Public Radio International's The World reported that his MasterCard transaction failed at separate CB ATMs while a bank employee told him connection was often down "when it was cloudy".

Currently, CB cannot accept MasterCard or Visa cards issued by banks in Singapore due to the city-state's increased security on banking transactions.