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05 November 2012

Myanmar gives green light to foreign credit cards

Myanmar has given approval for the introduction of Visa and other foreign credit cards, whose absence has been a long-standing headache for visitors.

Visa, MasterCard, China UnionPay and Japan Credit Bureau have been granted permission by the finance ministry to enter the long-closed country, the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper announced on Friday.

It did not say when the introduction would take place.

The Post and Telecommunications department and Myanmar Information Technology Co. will handle the technical side of the launch of card services at local banks and ATMs and their usage at hotels and restaurants.

Due to decades of US sanctions, major credit cards are not widely accepted in the country, formerly known as Burma, obliging tourists and business people to carry wads of cash.

But Washington opened the door to their return earlier this year, easing restrictions after reforms including the release of political prisoners and the election of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

MasterCard said last month it had signed a deal with Myanmar's Co-Operative Bank that it hoped would pave the way for electronic payments, a move it said would have a "huge impact on tourism and travel".

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/



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