MasterCard on a roll in Myanmar, plans swift expansion

PHOTO: MasterCard on a roll in Myanmar, plans swift expansion

MYANMAR - Less than four months after MasterCard's launch in Myanmar, foreigners have used the cards to withdraw about US$1.7 million(S$2.1 million) here, prompting it to expand its service, according to Pe Myint, director of Cooperative Bank.

Since March 1 card users have been able to use them at point-of-sale machines, Pe Myint said.

There are eight machines now and many more are about to be installed at hotels, he said.

They allow card holders to withdraw both US and Myanmar currencies. Previously, they could only make withdrawals at banks and ATMs.

Antonio Corro, senior manager for Master Card Worldwide (Indochina), said point of sale service would benefit both the commercial sector and tourism in Myanmar.

By the end of this year, MasterCard plans to have more than 500 point-of-sale terminals in restaurants, hotels and retail outlets, it said.

MasterCard is widely used by tourists to access their home bank accounts. MasterCard may join the Myanmar Payment Union Network soon, an executive from Cooperative Bank said.

"Currently, China Union Pay cards have connected with MPU to offer its card service [at automatic teller machines of MPU banks], and soon Japan Credit Bureau cards will follow. MasterCard will do the same in near future," he said.

Master Card Worldwide allowed Cooperative Bank to offer Master Card service in Myanmar last September. The service was launched on November 15.

Cooperative Bank also signed with VISA Card for international withdrawal transactions at its ATMs, and with Western Union for worldwide money transfer service last December.

MasterCard says its cards are used in 217 countries by 1.7 billion people, including 32 million merchants.