Visa prepares to enter Myanmar

Monday, 27 August 2012 00:21 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Visa has taken its first steps towards entry into Myanmar (previously known as Burma) with a series of training workshops to prepare selected local banks for the introduction of electronic payments as the country continues its economic and social reforms.

The workshops are aimed at upgrading the banking facilities to accept and issue international payment cards and establishing a pillar for economic growth.

As Visa steps up its engagement, the first priority for Myanmar will be preparing for the influx of international visitors resulting from the relaxation of international sanctions. With Yangon’s hotels and major tourist attractions now regularly full and the country’s airports seeing increased passenger numbers, connection to the global economy is a key element in opening up the market.

The news also comes at a good time for Myanmar as the country gets set to host the anticipated rush of visitors expecting to use their payment cards at next year’s Southeast Asian Games and the regional World Economic Forum.

“We know from experience that there will be an urgent requirement to provide basic ATM network and point-of-sale terminals for international visitors arriving in Myanmar for business and pleasure—and that is where we will focus first,” said Peter Maher, Visa Group Country Manager, Southeast Asia and Australasia.

“Inbound business people and tourists are already looking for the Visa acceptance mark at merchants for the convenience, security and reassurance it brings. The sooner we deliver electronic payments, the sooner Myanmar will benefit from the increased spending.”

Maher added, “This is an exciting time for the people of Myanmar and Visa is delighted to help bring the benefits, security and convenience of electronic payments to the country. As Myanmar builds its financial infrastructure, Visa will work hand-in-hand with the local market to provide its global knowledge and technology and bring safe secure and convenient payments to all.” The Visa Card Partner Workshop in Yangon was attended by a number of the nation’s leading banks. During the two-day event, Visa introduced representatives to the international requirements for electronic payments and a roadmap for development and delivery.

The first event in a series of interactive sessions addressed the critical needs, long-term objectives and immediate steps required to establish a payment infrastructure for Myanmar.

Speaking from Yangon, Visa Thailand and Myanmar Country Manager Somboon Krobteeranon said, “These workshops provide a clear path to introducing a reliable and internationally connected gateway to the global economy and we are already seeing potential partners enthusiastically supporting our proposals.

From our initial observations, Myanmar should have little difficulty in meeting the international requirements and the country’s banks seem committed to providing electronic payments as soon as possible...Electronic payments will provide important support for Myanmar’s business and tourism development as well as enable economic empowerment and inclusion for the millions of unbanked in the country.”