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China Union Pay card launched in Myanmar

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YANGON, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- China Union Pay (CUP) card services was launched in cooperation with Myanmar Payment Union (MPU) card in Myanmar's Yangon Saturday, signifying the formal introduction of services of the CUP in the Southeast Asian nation.

Governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar U Than Nyein and Chief Resident Representative of CUP (Southeast Asia Region) Yang Wenhui delivered speeches at the launching ceremony, saying that the introduction of CUP services in Myanmar has opened a new page of cooperation between CUP and MPU.

Users of CUP can withdraw Myanmar Kyat currency from the automatic tellers machines (MTU) of MPU member banks and make payment at its points-of-sale as well as at relevant hotels.

MPU and CUP signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement in March 2012 and a memorandum of understanding in November of the year on Myanmar's acceptance of acquiring process of CUP.

MPU was established in September 2011 by 17 domestic banks in Myanmar including three state-owned banks and 14 private banks and starting September 2012, MPU debit card was introduced for services domestically.

At present, there has been 198 ATMs and 465 points-of-sale with the MPU member bank network.

Over 10 years since CUP started operation, it has become the most rapid payment brand in the international market with its business services expanded to cover 141 countries and regions including Myanmar.

In terms of the number of card issued, the CUP has also become the world's biggest brand of bank card payment.

Master Card was introduced as the first international electronic payment card in Myanmar in November 2012, followed by Visa Card in December of the year.

There is a total of 19 private banks and four state-owned banks in Myanmar.

The move-in of the international bank cards came after the United States eased some financial sanctions on the country, before which foreign visitors were unable to use international credit cards on account of such sanctions on money transactions since 2003.

Besides Master, Visa and CUP cards, Myanmar has also allowed introducing services for JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) to facilitate foreign travelers in domestic payment.

It is the latest reform of Myanmar's monetary sector made in coordination with the member banks of MPU, the Central Bank of Myanmar, Internal Revenue Department, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and Myanmar Information Technology (MIT) Co..

The move is also seen as being made timely in preparation for the upcoming Myanmar-host 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in late 2013.

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