Myanmar banks plan online payments service

Myanmar’s local banks are planning to launch an online payments service to allow the country to grow e-commerce transactions inside its borders.

Most transactions in Myanmar, also known as Burma, are still cash based. Even if customers find a product they like on a company’s website, the store requires pre-payment to a company representative in cash before the order is filled. Since many stores import from overseas, delivery of products can see delays.

Other shops will take payment after the goods have been delivered, but this leave the merchant at risk if the customer does not pay.

The Myanmar Payments Union, an enterprise owned by the country’s domestic banks, is attempting to tackle this problem by expanding the use of card payments in the country, Myanmar Times reported.

The MPU has been issuing what are essentially pre-paid credit cards since September 2012, with 850,000 currently in use. While this number is growing, the organisation feels it needs to do more to widen its base.

The MPU is working with Cooperative, Myawaddy and United Amara, and is actively attempting to recruit more banks to take part in plans to allow cardholders to use their card prepaid numbers online to make purchases.

Retailers have expressed a wish to see the service in action before signing up, and for the banks to keep fees for the service low.

While an internal e-commerce system could be on the way if the Central Bank agrees to it, transfers outside Myanmar are still restricted.

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