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Banking & Finance

Myanmar's AYA Bank lowers barrier to Visa card

New rules stipulate minimum income of $110 per month

AYA Bank wants to make credit cards available for everybody. A launching ceremony was held in Yangon on Tuesday.

YANGON -- Myanmar's Ayeyarwady Bank, also known as AYA Bank, announced on Tuesday that it will start issuing Visa cards to a wider customer base.

The bank will issue three types of credit cards -- silver, gold and platinum. The most accessible card requires a monthly income of 150,000 kyat ($110), with an annual fee of 20,000 kyat.

Other banks usually require that customers earn a minimum monthly income of 300,000 kyat to 400,000 kyat to apply for a Visa card. With the eased restrictions, AYA Bank hopes credit cards will no longer be restricted to higher earners.

The bank also enabled customers to redeem points accumulated by using credit cards for home appliances and at gas stations rather than stays at luxury hotels, a spokesperson said.

In Myanmar, the issuance of international credit cards that impose spending limits depending on annual income has just begun. Deregulation has enabled the issuance of Visa cards since January. Until last year, people mostly use debit cards, which make payments within the scope of their deposit balance.

Payments with credit cards issued overseas have only become allowed since 2012, a year after the transition to civilian rule began. Currently, Visa cards can be used at about 7,000 outlets across Myanmar, and the number is expected to increase.

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