» 08/11/2012, 00.00
Currency revolution: by 2013, credit cards active in Myanmar
By the end of the month debit cards and electronic payment services will be launched. Currently five of the seven banks licensed to operate. Green light for foreign currency accounts and foreign money transactions. Justification required for amounts greater than 10 thousand dollars.
Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A revolution
is underway in the Burmese banking sector: by the beginning of the South East Asian
Games in 2013, for the first time in the country's history credit cards will be
since August, citizens can avail of debit cards and electronic payment service
through banks, called Giro Billing Payment
System (Gbps). This
is confirmed by U Pe Myint, manager of the Cooperative Bank, that "we have
already taken many steps to reach the goal of a fully functioning banking
Currently five of the seven major
banks in Myanmar, who are now licensed to provide foreign currency accounts,
will introduce the s Gbpsystem, which facilitates the payment of bills such as
telephone or electricity. Added
to this, the introduction of so-called debit cards - the deadline is the end of
the month - considered the first major step towards the introduction of real
The first step, experts say, is
to open foreign currency accounts. Then,
mergers with other banks to facilitate the remittance of money from Malaysia,
Singapore and Thailand, where the majority of Burmese migrants live. Before
it was only possible to send money to Burma, now locals can also send money
abroad, for an amount less than 10 thousand dollars. Larger
sums will require a justification, from the Department of the Central Bank of
Burma, which will oversee foreign credit transfers. And
there are others who are preparing for these changes, such as the Asia Green Development
Bank, by studying the possibilities of just to cover all operations to
facilitate customers and reduced the number of cards.
Speaking to The Irrawaddy Oo Thein Myint clarifies
that the Gbps system will be useful for customers who "can not pay via
telephone or electronically" and all they have to do is open an account at
the bank, which will provide them a username and password. For every
transaction there is a fee of 500 kyat. "At
the moment the Central Bank does not allow the use of credit cards - the
manager concludes - but I hope that the service will soon be active."
The path of modernization continues in the former Burma, first initiated
by President Thein Sein (with the cooperation of opposition leader Aung San Suu
Kyi) who established the nation in the world, at least in an economic and
commercial sense. In
recent weeks the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have opened offices
in the country. The
government's reforms have led to the partial lifting of the West's sanctions, a
decision which has led many international companies to focus on Myanmar, which
many see as the next - in the near future - "Asian tiger"
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