Visa looks to Myanmar

Visa looks to Myanmar

Visa is working with banks in Myanmar to help build the country's electronic payments infrastructure as it opens up to the rest of the world.

Having made significant democratic strides over the last year and seen economic sanctions eased, Myanmar is taking tentative steps to modernise its cash-based economy.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Visa has begun training local banks, helping them to build ATM and point-of-sale networks that will accept the internationally-issued cards of visitors that are now flooding in to the once isolated nation.

Visa's Peter Maher told the Journal that although ATMs and terminals are "heavily dependent on technical infrastructure," internationally-issued cards should be accepted "within a matter of months - not years".

MasterCard is also understood to be working with partners in the country to help build the necessary infrastructure.

Under new president Thein Sein, Myanmar has seen major democratic reforms, including the release of political prisoners and the election of Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

With sanctions relaxed, it is now also trying to build its shattered economy, recently enlisting the Tokyo Stock Exchange's technological expertise for a securities exchange slated to go live in 2015.

Visa Set to Enter Myanmar - WSJ

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