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Visa, KBZ launch international credit cards in Myanmar 


VISA INC AND KBZ, Myanmar’s largest private bank, launched two types of credit cards this week that can be accepted locally and internationally.

KBZ managing director Zaw Lin Aung said the launch marked an important first step of a strategic partnership between Visa and KBZ to develop innovative financial products for the country, after the Central Bank of Myanmar’s decision to allow international card providers to offer their products and services for the first time in Myanmar.
“We aim to provide our citizens with all possible assistance in a bid to develop the use of electronic payment in Myanmar. Now we have more than 7,000 outlets that accept Visa cards across the country, and our cardholders can also pay at more than 40 million merchants worldwide,” he said. 
Zaw Lin Aung said both cards, Classic and Platinum, came equipped with Visa payWave contactless technology. This allows cardholders to tap and pay at point-of-sale terminals without the need for a signature. They can also withdraw cash up to a certain limit.
Arturo Planell, Visa country manager for Myanmar, said the company had been working hard to expand in major cities including Mandalay, Bagan, Inle and Taunggyi. He noted that around 60 per cent of its merchants were located in Yangon. 
Planell is pretty confident that Visa’s business can double or even triple in Myanmar thanks to its efforts to expand outside Yangon. However, he did not disclose the number of card users because of business confidentiality.
He said Myanmar would benefit a lot from electronic payment, which can also drive financial inclusion. He said he was committed to working with the government to advance inclusive growth by expanding access to electronic payments and promoting financial literacy across the nation.
Aung Kyaw Myo, senior managing director of KBZ, said the bank had cooperated with Visa to reduce the domination of cash to a large extent and promote electronic payment. He believes that the use of cards will help Myanmar grow. 
“Today is the beginning of an exciting new era of a cashless society,” he said.
Shwe Zin Win, general manager of KBZ’s bank cards department, urged customers to use the cards responsibly. 
“Transactions with the cards will be denominated in kyat, so the cardholders need not worry about exchange rates while using their cards domestically. And we will not collect any interest within 45 days of purchase. If people pay back their balance on time, they will not incur any interest or late-payment fees,” she said. 
Shwe Zin Win said KBZ-issued Visa cards were available for anyone who could show evidence of monthly income of 300,000 kyat (Bt7,800) and above. She added that 13-per-cent interest rate would be applied if cardholders failed to pay their balance within 45 days. 
Users can withdraw up to 5 million kyat in cash at a single time in line with the bank’s terms and conditions. 
Zin Mar Win, creative director of KBZ Group, said the bank did research before the launch by asking people on the streets about credit cards. 
“Many people had many questions about the credit cards – how [they are] used, what the advantages are, and what is the difference between a credit card and a debit card. 
“As the largest bank in the country, we have a great responsibility to educate our customers to ensure that they understand every little detail about these credit cards. Then this will lead them to financial confidence,” she said.
Zin Mar Win said the bank had created a series of short, simple videos and animations to educate people about how to use the cards safely and effectively. 
 

Published : January 26, 2017

By :  KHINE KYAW MYANMAR ELEVEN ASIA NEWS NETWORK YANGON