This week the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) made 2 important announcements aiming to improve everyday’s life of banking citizens.
First it said that it had “upgraded its payment and settlement system to facilitate transactions between financial institutions around the country at any time, including utility bill payments and large payroll transactions” as reported by the Irrawaddy. The new system will link all banks including commercial, state-owned and foreign banks operating in the country and allow direct transactions between branches.
With technical support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the new payment system, CBM-NET 2, based on Japan’s national payment system, will allow for 24/7 transfer of domestic kyat remittances between banks, bulk payment including payroll transfers, and automatic withdrawals to pay taxes and utilities bills. More features will be added during the first half of next year.
Second, in a move to curb illegal money transfer services such as the infamous “Hundi” system, CBM announced that it had issued the first remittance business licenses to five money transfer firms, allowing them to process inbound overseas money transfers.
The move comes with some limitations though. Frontier reported that “customers are limited to transfers totaling the kyat equivalent of USD 1,000 at a time, and may not transfer more than USD 5,000 in a month.” Also it is only for individuals working and living abroad, and not for businesses, which are encouraged to use the regular banking system.