Just one year ago, Myanmar was a purely cash economy: there were no automated teller machines and international credit cards were not accepted, save for those of a few well-connected companies that routed payments to offshore companies.
With the easing of most sanctions by the European Union and the United States earlier this year, Myanmar’s banking landscape is being transformed, although access to banking services for the wider population remains a challenge.
In September 2012, MasterCard became the first international payments network to issue a licence to a local bank. Two months later, the first ATM transaction took place at a Yangon branch of Cooperative Bank (CB Bank). MasterCard now has partnerships with eight local banks and one finance company, including CB, KBZ, Myanmar Apex Bank (MAB), Myanmar Citizens Bank, Myanmar Oriental Bank, United Amara Bank (UAB), Ayeyarwady Bank and Asia Green Development Bank (AGD).
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