JCB is to become the third of the major global credit card companies to launch operations in Burma after its international subsidiary, JCB International (JCBI), signed an agreement with Myanmar Payment Union (MPU) to issue JCB cards in the country.
The company said it aims to expand JCB card acceptance early in 2013 and to launch a JCB card issuing program in the near future.
JCB, meaning Japan Credit Bureau, is the leading credit card in Japan and has increased its presence heavily in other parts of Asia in recent years. JCBI says its cards are now issued in 16 countries and territories, with more than 77 million card members worldwide.
Japanese press reported on November 26 that JCB—following in the footsteps of US giants VISA and MasterCard— had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for building a JCB ‘card acceptance network” and for issuing JCB cards in Burma through the member banks of MPU.
MPU was established by the Central Bank of Myanmar in 2011 with 17 local banks to promote the acceptance and issuance of payment cards in the country.
The MPU debit card scheme was officially launched in September among eight private banks out of the 17 members. Those were: Myanmar Citizen Bank, Myawaddy Bank, Myanmar Oriental Bank, Kanbawza Bank, Cooperative Bank, Asian Green Development Bank, and Myanmar Apex Bank.
It was announced that the first ATMs would be installed in the three main cities of Rangoon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw.
The cash amount an MPU card-carrying customer can request is set at a minimum of 1,000 kyat ($1.14) and a maximum of 5 million kyat (about $5,700).
On November 1, Co-operative Bank Ltd launched the first ATM in Burma at its head office in Rangoon. The name of the ATM service is “Easi Banking”.