Myanmar’s Central Bank Updates Interbank Payment Network

By Nan Lwin 19 November 2020

YANGON—The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) has launched an upgraded payment and settlement system that facilitates transactions between financial institutions around the country at any time, including utility bill payments and large payroll transactions.

The new payment system, CBM-NET2, is an advanced, upgraded version of the central bank’s original network, CBM-NET, and provides centralized, real-time interbank fund and securities settlement. Both versions of the technology are supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

JICA said CBM-NET2 allows for the transfer of domestic kyat remittances 24/7 between banks, bulk payments including payroll transfers, and automatic withdrawals to pay taxes and utilities bills.

Shifting from a traditional cash-based economy to electronic “cashless” payments will help tackle the challenges posed by COVID-19, JICA said.

In the past, banks could perform such transactions at their head offices, but the new system will link all banks including commercial, state-owned and foreign banks operating in the country and allow direct transactions between branches.

JICA said CBM-NET2’s technologies are based on Japan’s national payment system, adding that more features will be added during the first half of next year. JICA will also be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the payment system.

According to the CBM, CBM-NET began operating in January 2016, connecting the bank’s head office with its branches and all financial institutions including domestic and foreign banks and securities companies through a secured network.

In August 2018, CBM signed with JICA for grant aid of up to 5.594 billion Japanese yen (70.37 billion kyats) to upgrade CBM-NET to CBM-NET2.

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