Card payments will be accepted at more than 500 restaurants, retail outlets and hotels in Myanmar by the end of the year, following the announcement of a rollout of Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals by Co-operative Bank Ltd (CB Bank) and MasterCard Worldwide today after its first POS transaction at Golden Myanmar Airlines, Myanmar's first public, budget airline.
The nationwide rollout will see POS credit card acceptance in hotels and retail outlets in Yangon, followed by the cities of Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Bagan towards the second quarter of 2013.
POS acceptance will enable merchants in Myanmar to accept MasterCard payment cards, giving them access to electronic commerce and the ability to participate in the open, global payments system that MasterCard enables. These merchants will also benefit from being part of a network of thousands of issuing and acquiring financial institutions and their partners. CB Bank staff will also be organizing training sessions for front-line staff on how to use the terminals.
Mr. Antonio Corro, country manager & chief representative, Indochina, MasterCard Worldwide, said the rollout of POS acceptance would benefit the growth seen in both the retail and tourism sectors. Visitors to Myanmar boomed in 2012, with more than a million people travelling to the country compared with around 816,000 in 2011, according to Myanmar's Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
"With visitors increasing and new businesses starting up in the country it is vital that the appropriate payments mechanisms are in place to handle the demands of growth across multiple sectors," Mr Corro said.
"International visitors and businesses are looking for easy payment channels when they arrive in Myanmar. This rollout of POS acceptance for all MasterCard cards will help manage the huge demand that new visitors and new businesses are placing on the country right now, and is especially timely given the influx of foreign visitors expected during the upcoming South East Asia Games (SEA Games) in December, 2013," he added.
Mr. Kyaw Lynn, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of CB Bank said, "The rollout of POS terminals across the country is a huge and significant step forward for CB Bank and for Myanmar's economy. Developing a new payments infrastructure will bring new opportunities to the country and will also provide opportunities to develop the frontline skills needed to support the country's growth.
Separately, MasterCard also announced two new bank license agreements with Kanbawza Bank Ltd (KBZ Bank) and United Amara Bank Ltd (UAB Bank) for the acceptance and issuance of MasterCard cards in Myanmar. KBZ Bank has the largest branch network in Myanmar and operates 46 ATMs across Myanmar at convenient locations such as supermarkets, airports, shopping centers and clinics.
MasterCard was the first international payments network to issue a license to a Myanmar bank in September last year, paving the way for branded cards to be issued and accepted in the country for the first time.
Officially, international payments cards have only been accepted by ATMs in Myanmar since November, when MasterCard and CB Bank also teamed up to launch the first transaction at one of the bank's Yangon ATMs.