CB Bank Issues Myanmar’s First Visa, MasterCard Credit Cards for Domestic Use

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A week after the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) lifted restrictions on the use of credit and debit cards issued by foreign companies for domestic use, CB Bank, one of Visa’s four local partner banks, has begun issuing Visa and MasterCard credit cards for use within Myanmar.

CB Bank is the first of Visa’s local partner banks to begin issuing Visa Gold and Platinum credit cards and capitalise on the move by the central bank to liberalise electronic payments within Myanmar, a move hailed by the payment giant as a “landmark announcement.”

“It will…accelerate the country’s shift from a cash based economy to a digital economy, supporting the Myanmar government’s national goals of inclusive economic growth, increased employment, and greater financial inclusion, while reducing the shadow economy,” said Arturo Planell, Visa’s Country Manager.

Banks and international payment companies are have so far had a tough time convincing Myanmar consumers to ditch cash for plastic. Myanmar remains a cash based economy and despite double digit growth by Visa in 2016, cash transactions still made up 99.95% of all transactions done inside Myanmar.

But the lifting of restrictions by the central bank removes one of the last hurdles remaining for oversees payment companies in their quest to knock cash off top spot.

Prior to last fortnight’s announcement by the central bank, the local partner banks of Visa and MasterCard had been issuing pre-paid debit cards and travel cards, but restrictions meant they were only eligible for use outside of Myanmar.

Instead Visa and MasterCard pinned their growth strategies on tourists holding cards issued outside of Myanmar, which were eligible for use at ATMs and points of sale throughout the country.

CB issued Visa and MasterCard credit cards are only eligible for CB bank account holders. Applicants must provide letters of recommendation from their local ward administrator, employer with and indication of salary and a guarantor.

 

Source: Myanmar Business Today

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