Western Union Launches Outbound Transfers

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 8 June 2016

RANGOON — Private banks in Burma will allow outbound money transfers through Western Union and MoneyGram starting this month, banking industry officials said.

Earlier this week, US-based Western Union introduced international money transfers from Burma in partnership with nine banks: Kanbawza, Ayeyarwaddy, Myanma Apex, United Amara, Yoma, Co-operative (CB), Myanmar Oriental, World Treasure and First Private Bank.

Patricia Riingen, senior vice president of Western Union in Southeast Asia, said nine banks with almost 800 branches around the country will provide the foreign transfer service in Burma.

Starting this week, remittances sent from Burma will also be allowed at up to US$3,000 per person through Western Union.

Western Union, one of the world’s leading global money transfer services, has more than 500,000 branches in over 200 countries. Western Union’s inbound transfer service to Burma began in 2013.

Zaw Lin Htut, chief executive officer of the Myanmar Payment Union (MPU) said he welcomed the new launch because many expatriates living in Burma as well as Burmese citizens living abroad would be happy that remittances would be easier to send.

“In the past, students’ parents couldn’t remit money to their children through legal channels and instead found informal channels,” Zaw Lin Htut said, adding, “Through informal channels, if senders faced mistatement or problems, they couldn’t claim their money back. Now it is legal and easy to transfer money. This is good news.”

MoneyGram, another money transfer service, will also allow remittances from Burma through their partner banks this month, said Soe Thein, executive director of the Asian Green Development Bank, adding that the remittance maximum would be similar to the one set by Western Union.

MoneyGram’s international money transfer service opened in Burma in 2013 in partnership with three banks: Asia Green Development Bank, Myanmar Citizens Bank and the Tun Foundation Bank.