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MasterCard continues its financial inclusion efforts in Myanmar

Nurdianah Md Nur | Dec. 22, 2014
It does so by launching two prepaid cards in the market, providing support in educating the citizens on the benefits of electronic payments, and planning to launch a smartphone-enabled prepaid card.

(From left to right) KBZ EXPLORE Prepaid Card, MYCard, and Citizen Card.
Credit: MasterCard.

MasterCard has launched two more prepaid cards in Myanmar as part of its financial inclusion strategy in the market.

The financial services firm will now offer the KBZ EXPLORE Prepaid Card and My AYA MasterCard Prepaid Card (MY Card) to Kanbawza Bank's (KBZ Bank) and, Ayeyarwady Bank (AYA Bank) customers respectively. Both cards are reloadable cards with EMV chip for added security.

Accepted worldwide as long as MasterCard is accepted, the KBZ EXPLORE Prepaid Card enables cardholders to easily make payments online and when travelling overseas. Users can also check their card transactions and card balance by logging into their online KBZ account.

"The KBZ EXPLORE Prepaid Card provides consumers with an alternative payment mode and also facilitates cashless payments," said Aung Kyaw Myo, KBZ Bank's managing director for consumer banking . Motivated by the "good response" to the card, he expects the adoption rate of KBZ EXPLORE Prepaid Card to more than double by next year. 

Similar to KBZ EXPLORE Prepaid Card, AYA Bank's MY Card allows cardholders to securely pay for online and overseas purchases. However, it can be loaded with US dollars that could be used to pay purchases from international online shopping sites.

Educating the citizens and increasing their access to financial services
To further its financial inclusion efforts,  MasterCard recently partnered with Ooredoo to make financial educational materials accessible to the Myanmar population. MasterCard had pledged US$10,000 to help expedite the translation of Khan Academy's economic and finance videos into Burmese. According to Aung, this move will "educate local citizens on the benefits of electronic payments", which will lead to increased consumer trust in such transactions.  

There are also plans to launch a smartphone-enabled prepaid card with Myanmar Citizen Bank and payment services company 2C2P. The Citizen Card will be a reloadable prepaid MasterCard targeting travellers, online shoppers, as well as travel and tour companies for their business-to-business (B2B) payments. Besides enabling payment, the card allows cardholders to monitor their transactions in real-time and receive online support through a mobile app.


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