Visa and KBZ Ready to Issue Two Types of Credit Cards

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 25 January 2017

RANGOON — US financial services company Visa and local Burmese bank KBZ will issue two types of credit cards starting from Jan. 25, U Zaw Lin Aung, the bank’s managing director, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

Two weeks after the Central Bank announced that international payment providers could now offer products and services in Burma’s domestic market, Visa and KBZ are issuing the first credit cards denominated in Burmese kyat.

“Starting from today, we launch these two types of credit cards to the public with Visa,” U Zaw Lin Aung said, referring to both “classic” and “platinum” cards. Platinum cards have higher spending and credit limits than the classic cards.

Both types of cards will come with Visa payWave contactless technology, allowing cardholders to “tap and pay” at payWave-enabled sales locations. The cards will also have the standard “swipe” or “insert” payment capabilities.

“KBZ Visa card holders can enjoy the same security, convenience and speed afforded to billions of other Visa cards worldwide,” Arturo Planell, Visa’s country manager for Burma, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Transaction with international cards issued locally will be denominated in Burmese kyat, meaning Visa cardholders won’t need to apply exchange rates while using their cards domestically.

“Customers can now apply for credit cards at all branches of KBZ across the country,” U Zaw Lin Aung told The Irrawaddy.

There are 40 million outlets around the world that accept Visa cards worldwide, including 3,500 shops in Burma, according to Visa.

U Zaw Lin Aung said KBZ will also continue to issue debit cards which launched last year before the new National League for Democracy-led government gave the green light to the issuing of credit cards in Burma.

One of the largest private commercial banks in Burma, KBZ Bank was established in 1994 in Taunggyi, Shan State. It now has 440 branches across Burma, and opened international branches in Thailand and Singapore in 2016.
Visa is one of the world’s biggest payment card providers, with a network of approximately 40 million outlets worldwide, and more than 3,500 in Burma. It entered the country in 2012.