Asia Business Channel

Myanmar will launch nationwide QR code payment system this year

The Central Bank Myanmar (CBM) is set to implement a standardized national payment system by this year, according to U Bo Bo Nge, the Vice Governor of the CBM.

Daw Than Than Swe, Director General of the CBM’s Financial Institutions Regulation Department, said to the Myanmar Times that the new system will cover international payments, mobile wallets and all mobile network operators.

“We are going to introduce an easy payment system via mobile phones in Myanmar later this year and we are being as systematic as possible with the drafting of the regulations as the system will be used by the public to transfer funds for transactions such as buying and selling,” said U Bo Bo Nge.

The system will be based on Quick Response Codes, commonly referred to as QR codes. CBM is in talks with international payment firms like Visa and JCB, and local mobile wallet providers such as Wave Money, M Pitesan, OK$, WeChat and Ali-pay on the implementation of the system.

“We are coordinating to use a national standard for the whole country and not different QR codes from companies. Currently, we have confirmed the technology and we are working on management, prices, distribution, implementation and financial status of the entire system. It is expected that the system will greatly improve the retail payment sector, once it is in place,” said Daw Than Than Swe.

However, once the system emerges, card payment system will continue to be used, Myanmar Payment Union CEO U Zaw Lin Htut told The Myanmar Times.

“Although QR system will be in use, bank cards will continue to be a payment channel separately. Any payment platform can use it if the standards are followed. So, any users of payment services can pay,” he said.

National standard payment systems are already in place in Thailand and Vietnam and other countries in the Mekong region, including Cambodia and Laos are looking at the implementation of their own national systems. Once all five Mekong countries have systems in place, financial leaders hope they can integrate the individual systems into a “Mekong Payment System” that would help facilitate trade across the region.

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