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BANKING TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Thailand

Check out Visa's multi-currency travel prepaid card to be launched in Myanmar

You will be surprised at its benefits.

Visa announced it is working closely with Myanmar banks to launch the first Visa Multicurrency Travel Prepaid card for Myanmar cardholders to use when traveling overseas. This upcoming launch will mark another milestone in the country’s financial system, opening the global marketplace to the people of Myanmar who are traveling internationally for business and leisure.

The Visa Multicurrency Travel Prepaid card will be a first of its kind in the country allowing cardholders to load up to three currencies (Euro, US$, SG$) onto a single card. Designed to meet the needs of the growing segment of Myanmar nationals who are traveling abroad in record numbers1, the card can be used for overseas transactions anywhere Visa is accepted - at tens of millions of merchants, either online or in-store, as well as to withdraw cash at 2 million ATMs worldwide.

ABF: What spurred the launch of this multicurrency prepaid card?

Mr. Krobteeranon: Visa believes that Myanmar will benefit immensely from a competitive payments industry and this mirrors a global shift away from cash and checks to electronic payments.

Access to secure electronic payments is a first step towards financial inclusion and economic growth and is critical to the development of strong, modern economies. Financial Inclusion is crucial to advancing the social objectives of bringing millions of unbanked people into the formal financial system.

Prepaid cards provide a viable tool for the citizens of Myanmar to travel in a safer and more convenient way. One thing to consider, prepaid cards do not require a bank account or credit history unlike credit or debit cards, making them a viable option for people in Myanmar who travel. Prepaid cards are relevant and suitable for Myanmar cardholders as we build a foundation for card usage and electronic payments. This will serve as a gateway for more payment cards that stakeholders, such as financial institutions and Visa, can introduce in the future such as credit and debit cards. 

Travellers like prepaid cards because they can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs, make payments in stores and make payments online, according to the Visa Prepaid Travel Card Survey 2013.

Visa initiatives are bringing real, tangible economic and societal benefits to Myanmar consumers and merchants, who now have access to a wider range of payment options and business opportunities through increased acceptance channels.

ABF: What's new about it for Visa and for your customers?

Mr. Krobteeranon: Cardholders will benefit from being able to avoid fluctuating exchange rates with the card by locking in foreign currency exchange rates before you travel. Cardholders will be able to load up to three different currencies onto one card, enabling travellers to leave their cash and worries at home. 

The Visa Multicurrency Travel Prepaid card will offer a secure way for Myanmar nationals to carry their funds when travelling abroad for business, holiday or education. Cardholders can load up to USD 5,000. It is a reloadable card with Chip and PIN protection. The cardholder’s signature is required to make purchases and a PIN is required when withdrawing cash from ATMs.

Visa remains committed to supporting the Myanmar economy through the development of electronic payments and will continue collaborating with Myanmar banks to enable the introduction of additional payment products in the future. 

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