Myanmar to Become Member of APN, Upgrade Card-Based Services

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Myanmar will become a member of the Asian Payment Network (APN), which was established to create a common payment settlement platform within the Asia-Pacific region, said U Zaw Lin Htut, CEO of Myanmar Payment Union (MPU).

MPU has already met with officials from APN, and is waiting for the membership announcement to be made, U Zaw Lin Htut said at the second MPU annual meeting held in Yangon on Sunday.

“We have met with APN many times. We think they will confirm Myanmar’s membership at the yearly APN conference meeting in 2018,” said U Zaw Lin Htut.

The APN was formed in 2006 by the central banks of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand with a view of establishing a cross-border settlement network in Asia. That network has since expanded to a total of 10 countries, including the Philippines and Vietnam as well as South Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand.

APN is also working on standardising ATM services, such as cash withdrawals and payments and balance enquiries. It is also seeking to apply the system to debit and credit card payments, money transfers and mobile banking services across member countries.

Going cashless

If Myanmar becomes a member of APN, it will have the opportunity to utilise the network’s card system for payments involving cross-border trades between Asian countries, said U Mya Than, non-executive director and former chair of MPU.

In order to join the APN, each country needs to have established a national-level payment system. In Myanmar, the MPU will operate as the National Payment Switch, said Daw Than Than Swe, director general of the Central Bank of Myanmar.

A Payment Switch is a system that can interface with any Point of Sale system, ATM, mobile payment system and e commerce portal, consolidate all electronic transactions and then intelligently channel them to a payment processor for authorisation and settlement.

“In Thailand, the latest instruction given by the central bank is for domestic banks to establish a National Payment Switch. This is because they want to join the APN. Thailand is only starting now. So, we can say that we are

one step ahead,” added U Mya Than.

Card-based system

From early 2018 on, upgrades will also be carried out so that the MPU card system can be used more widely, said U Zaw Lin Htut. Under the MPU, member banks have issued debit and credit cards to facilitate digital transactions.

After the upgrades, MPU will be able to offer card-to-card, card-to-account and account-to-account transfers via ATM, he said. Currently, MPU cards can only be used to withdraw money at the ATM and make payments on POS devices.

The additional services will be enabled using technology from the US. “When we first established the MPU card services, we used technologies from a Chinese company. But now, we are suing technologies and devices from a US company.

By the beginning of 2018, MPU will be able to offer a wider range of services,” said U Zaw Lin Htut.

The MPU was established in 2011 by 17 local banks and the Central Bank of Myanmar. The MPU aims to transform Myanmar from a cash-based to cashless society by harnessing an inter-bank electronic payment network among member banks to perform payments and linking with an international payment system like the APN to conduct transactions.

In 2015, MPU became a public company and the number of member banks increased to 23. Since then, local banks have given out more than 4 million MPU Prepaid Cards, and more than 70,000 MPU Credit Cards.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

 

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