Wave Money Receives Mobile Financial Service License From Central Bank

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 3 October 2016

RANGOON — Burma’s Central Bank has granted the country’s first mobile financial services license to Wave Money, a mobile money-transfer joint venture between Norway’s Telenor, Burma’s Yoma Bank and First Myanmar Investment.

The Central Bank issued the Regulation on Mobile Financial Services on March 30. Wave Money is now directly regulated by the Central Bank as a non-banking financial institution.

In an announcement on Monday, Wave Money said the new regulations would help millions of people in Burma access financial services via mobile phone operators.

Telenor owns 51 percent of Wave Money, with First Myanmar Investment holding 44 percent and Yoma Bank 5 percent. The total investment is around US$17 million.

After its first year in Burma, 4,000 “Wave shops” have been set up across the country, where users can transfer money via mobile accounts or agents.

Brad Jones, chief executive officer of Wave Money, said in the statement that Telenor’s already-extensive telecoms network could be leveraged to provide mobile money accounts to people excluded from Burma’s formal financial sector.

“We are delighted to have the trust of the Central Bank of Myanmar in being the first company in Myanmar to be regulated under the Mobile Financial Services Regulation,” he said.

Brad Jones added, “We aim to be a market leader in the Asian mobile money market by providing access to financial services to the unbanked population of Myanmar.”

In April, the Central Bank announced that mobile financial service providers could allow customers to open mobile accounts and deposit and transfer money between them. People-to-people, people-to-government, people-to-business and business-to-business money transfers are now permitted under the Central Bank’s regulations.