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Myanmar Agents to commence accepting CC payments.

Warks.England
Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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386 reviews
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Myanmar Agents to commence accepting CC payments.

Traditionally the method of paying an Agent in Myanmar has been a deposit to a Bank in Singapore or Bangkok followed by a cash balance payable on arrival in Yangon, or sometimes all cash on arrival.

Following the introduction of ATM's in Myanmar their Banks are now rolling out the credit card system and signing up merchants such as Travel Agents. No doubt hotels, restaurants and airlines will also be approached .Because of the lack of high speed internet I think it will initially be a paper system with Agents getting phone authority, like the old days in Europe and the US

The sting in the tail is that the Banks are demanding high merchant fees-up to 4.5% which is at least twice as much as is charged in most developed countries. Add to this your own providers fee, which can be as high as 2.5% by way of fee or equivalent currency conversion charge, and you are adding 7% to your holiday costs-so much for progress.

There is no way an Agent can absorb this cost so it will have to paid by the client as a CC surcharge-nothing new as airlines and online booking sites already do this but it is the high % that is the catch.

Each Agent will have to establish their own policy but if an Agent quotes you a price with no CC surcharge he has probably loaded his quote by +5% !

I personally feel that the current payment methods will continue, with CC's as an option, at extra cost. Eventually, as International banking opens up in the country, one should be able to do wire transfers into Yangon.

I am unsure whether Debit Cards will be accepted, and at what cost.

In the meantime my personal thoughts are that the best financial option is a deposit by CC( with surcharge) and with the balance payable in $ on arrival.

Incidentally, I believe Air Bagan (and I am sure other airlines) will be introducing an on-line booking system, with CC payment, later this year.

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Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
Bangkok
Bangkok
Thailand
Yangon (Rangoon)
Yangon (Rangoon)
Yangon Region, Myanmar
Bagan
Bagan
Mandalay Region, Myanmar
Colden, New York
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2,918 posts
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1. Re: Myanmar Agents to commence accepting CC payments.

My cc doesn't charge me foreign transaction fees so I might only be looking at the 4.5% you mentioned. On prior trips I've always paid flights and hotels by cc. I'm a bit uncomfortable carrying so much $$ with me as in addition to 3 weeks in Myanmar we have 18 days in Cambodia and 30 days in Thailand. If I had to pay cash $$ for everything in all 3 countries I'd need a small suitcase/backpack just to carry the currency!! Normally I'll load up my debit card (same company as credit card) and do withdrawals from ATMs as I go. Maybe there will be more ATMs available soon in Myanmar??

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Maryland
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74 reviews
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2. Re: Myanmar Agents to commence accepting CC payments.

The booking information that we just received from River Mekong mentioned credit card so are waiting to get more information about that option. We don't relish the idea of carrying around a lot of cash in Jakarta and Raja Ampat (Indonesia) before we get to Myanmar.

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Jakarta
Jakarta
Java, Indonesia
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118 posts
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3. Re: Myanmar Agents to commence accepting CC payments.

Expect as infrastructure improves (power & internet for financial services), international financial embargos are lifted to allow easy transfer of funds (got limited by Paypal as didn't realise booking my next destination after Myanmar would lead me to be in breach!), travel agents will become less important, as they are in most other countries. As with many things - maybe after the 2015 election, as the locals often said.

I have never used a travel agent in 30+ years of travel, so don't know if I am missing anything. Did ask a Mandalay agent for a room near Inle Lake, but the best price they could do was 2 to 4 times the price I had found using the free phone in my hotel room. And it was basic & not in a good location. Accommodation in Myanmar was booked with 1 call, except around Inle Lake (9 calls to find 2 vacancies). Booked my clean budget Yangon guesthouse with 1 Skype call costing about 1Pound from Australia.

Travel & accommodation bookings was as easy in Myanmar as most countries before internet booking became popular a few years back. Used to ask my accommodation in UK in 2005-6 to ring the next place to book, or to arrange tickets - same as Myanmar. If anything, travel was easier than most of my destinations, as almost all I dealt with spoke English.

Edited: 10 March 2013, 10:17
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Inle Lake
Inle Lake
2,316 Reviews
Nyaungshwe, Myanmar
Mandalay
Mandalay
Mandalay Region, Myanmar
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4. Re: Myanmar Agents to commence accepting CC payments.

New budget airline Golden Myanmar has its site designed to take online bookings, but is not yet implemented. Probably awaiting the start up of Credit Card services. Use of CC services is restricted to CB & KBZ banks at the moment. Fees are high by foreign levels, but we have high levels of competition & mature infrastructure (& controls). At startup, there are high costs of purchasing merchant terminals & connecting secure infrastructure. By comparison, booking an airline fare in Australia (as low as $9) costs around $10 fee with a CC, so Myanmar fees may not be that bad.

But many lower cost hotels & guesthouses will simply stick to the tried & tested system of cash only, but with payment changing to Kyat over time. I am welcoming the introduction of digital financial services for travelers in Myanmar. Will improve when USA lifts its restrictions. But it is early days.

Edited: 10 March 2013, 10:56
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5. Re: Myanmar Agents to commence accepting CC payments.

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