As Myanmar banks ramp up efforts to adopt mobile banking, it could take up to two years to fully implement the system as it requires superior technology and large mobile carriers, Dr Aung Thura, CEO of local research and consultancy firm Thura Swiss, said.
“Technology and mobile carriers play an important role in a successful mobile banking system. We will have to wait and see for a year or two given that Ooredoo and Telenor are just beginning to operate and MPT is gearing up to increase its competitiveness, Dr Aung Thura told Myanmar Business Today.
The implementation of mobile banking services can help Myanmar streamline the financial services sector by allowing customers access to services without having to go to a branch location. The establishment of branches around the country, in particular in rural areas, has been a long-time issue for local banks.
“When mobile banking is properly applied, you won’t need bank branches,” Dr Aung Thura said.
Four local banks – Cooperative Bank, First Private Bank, Innwa Bank and Myawaddy Bank – so far have been allowed to operate mobile banking services, including remittances through mobile phones.
While other banks have applied for the operation permits, they are facing approval delays because they cannot meet the minimum requirements, according to sources at the Central Bank.
“Our bank has not yet started mobile banking. We have submitted procedural proposals to the Central Bank, including our procedures for the security aspects of the service. It is important to protect our clients from losses,” said U Thaung Htike Kyaw, deputy general manager of KBZ Bank.
The Central Bank Law and Electronic Transaction Law, which aim to safeguard clients from incurring losses when using the system have recently been enacted, U Than Maung, a legal expert, told Myanmar Business Today.
“There may be errors during the trial period, so one needs to be cautious about possible scams. The rest of the world uses mobile banking, so the system should be launched.
“What’s important is that there should be relevant laws for the Central Bank as well as for the state-run and private banks. The public should also be educated regarding the benefits of the system. These three parties need to coordinate,” he said.
There are currently 24 private and state-run banks operating in Myanmar.