June 13, 2012
Reposted from the Myanmar Times
By Aye Thidar Kyaw
“We are trying to implement this system for the general public, and is likely to start at the end of June or early July,” said Daw Than Than Swe, a secretary of the Myanmar Payment Union (MPU) committee.
“Tests are under way to find out possible weaknesses or strong points, we can’t release details yet,” she said.
The move would follow the Central Bank’s issuing of authorized dealer licenses to handle foreign currency to 17 private banks on April 1 (the start of 2012-2013 fiscal year), and opening official money changer counters in tourist areas such as banks in downtown areas, the airport, hotels and shopping centres.
Under the first phase of Central Bank policy, about six private banks started offering Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) services through an intra bank network system last November but the system only linked the main office of a bank with its branches.
Now, the inter bank network will link all local banks under a second phase where debit card payments will be facilitated by MPU.
That system will be used in shopping centres, car showrooms and certain restaurants in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, Daw Than Than Swe said.
“Then, we will target the international link system with swift as a third phase. The Central Bank is already prepared for that by building a data centre and consulting foreign technicians. That will start early next year,” she said.
Initially, the Central Bank targeted the swift system to start last April, with the system linking to international banks in order to facilitate money remittance and transfers via banks, according to a Central Bank spokesperson.
“This system is very wide ranging, we needed to prepare so many aspects and that takes time,” he said.
The inter bank network for debit card payment services will involve Kanbawza, Asia Green Development, Co-operative and Ayeyarwaddy banks.
“Private banks have already prepared for debit cards, but we have to wait for the MPU committee’s decision. However, the Minister of Finance and Revenue announced on June 4 it will be implemented soon,” said Co-operative Bank managing director U Pe Myint, adding that private banks have already sent about 3000 ATMs with debit card payment services to shopping areas.
Petrol stations are also waiting confirmation having already applied for a card payment system last September.
Photo Credit: Myanmar Times