The link-up, called Wave Money, will allow customers to transfer and receive money through local storefronts called “Wave Shops”, according to its new Facebook page.
Myanmar has overhauled its telecommunications industry, liberalising the market to include two new foreign operators, but mass adoption of mobile payment systems has remained out of reach so far – with nearly all transactions still involving kyat changing hands.
Wave Money has not gone fully live quite yet, but is engaged in testing with “a number of retailers and distributors in Upper Myanmar”, according to Wave Money CEO Brad Jones. Mr Jones said the company would test run the service further for the next two months.
“We hope to receive regulatory approval for a full launch from the Central Bank in early 2016, once the draft Mobile Financial Services Regulation has been approved,” he wrote in an email.
“We are excited about the prospect of providing services to aid the Union Government of Myanmar in reaching its financial inclusion targets.”
Mr Jones wrote in a recent editorial for The Myanmar Times that the government aims to bring financial services to 40pc of people by 2020.
“Mobile operators, partnering with banks, are best placed to expand the reach of financial services in Myanmar to those that are unbanked today, leveraging distribution networks already in place,” he wrote.
Nearly all of Myanmar’s population – with a vast majority living in rural areas – lacks a bank account.
Wave Money will follow Telenor Myanmar’s line in targeting the mass market.
“Our strategy … is about serving the mass market,” Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg told The Myanmar Times in an interview earlier this year. “We want to connect the people that didn’t have a chance to be connected before.”
Source: Myanmar Times