MasterCard has become the first international payments network to issue a license to a Myanmar bank, paving the way for branded cards to be issued and accepted in the country for the first time.
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.
Last month it emerged that Visa is working with 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.
Now MasterCard has inked a licensing deal with the Co-Operative Bank - which has the largest ATM network in the country - that will see the issuing of branded cards. The bank's cash machines will accept MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus cards.
The agreement also enables merchants in Myanmar to accept MasterCards, which the firm says will see them benefit from being part of a network of thousands of issuing and acquiring financial institutions and their suppliers and partners.
Vicky Bindra, president, Apac, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, says: "Allowing the issuing and acceptance of MasterCard branded cards in the country is a huge step forward for Myanmar's banking sector, its merchants and for the country as a whole; this collaboration will bring more of Myanmar's citizens into the financial system and will have a huge impact on tourism and travel.
"Electronic payments will also be crucial in helping Myanmar connect to the global economy, facilitating business activity, and creating a better life for its citizens through financial inclusion."