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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

A Cashless Future for Myanmar, One Step at a Time

Ms. Kyu Kyu Maw is Assistant General Manager at Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon, in charge of Finance & Administration for the hotel.

IN MYANMAR, no one bats an eye when someone takes out a wad of cash from a plastic bag to pay for big ticket items and up till recently, electronic payment cards were non-existent. With the recent lifting of the US sanctions, Myanmar is finally coming of age as the country opens up. We are a 100% cash society – but this is set to change as Myanmar revolutionizes its banking industry. The Myanmar Central Bank has played an important role in contributing to the setup of the Myanmar Payments Union (MPU), resulting in the introduction of the first-ever debit cards for its citizens in Sept 2012.

Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is fully embracing the call to go cashless. With the cooperation of CB Bank, we were the first hotel in town to install an ATM machine within our premises, enabling easy withdrawals of cash, especially for tourists, who previously had to carry large amounts of foreign currency and only exchange it for local kyats upon arrival in Myanmar.

Now they can withdraw money as needed with their international payment cards. Additionally, enabling our guests to settle their hotel bill electronically has provided greater convenience and security as they can carry around less cash. To also encourage our staff to be part of a cashless future, we recently opened bank accounts for our employees and now their salaries are credited directly into their accounts. From an operations perspective, we managed to cut down the time and expense spent in previously preparing envelopes of monthly salaries for our staff.

While cash is still currently the predominant method of payment in Myanmar, we believe that electronic payments will create a positive impact not just for the people, but also for the nation. Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon is ever supportive and hopes to see our country move towards a cashless future, one step at a time.

If you have used your MasterCard, Maestro or Cirrus-branded cards in Myanmar, we would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and let us know how MasterCard acceptance in Myanmar has impacted your trip to the Golden Land.