Concerns over Myanmar junta’s mobile payment terms

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Members of the public are raising concerns over Myanmar’s junta’s statement to cease mobile payment operations for accounts with incomplete personal information.

The junta-controlled Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) announced in mid-September the permanent removal of mobile payment accounts, such as KPay and WavePay accounts, which are not upgraded with correct personal details. and complete. The announcement said the move was to protect the general public from fraudsters, financial scams and misuse.

These losses would only be resolved by taking action with adequate personal information, the CBM said.

Mobile payment users are required to upgrade their personal information to level 2 of the application with the nearest representatives and banks within a given period. As for Kpay, a tier 1 customer can transfer up to 400,000 kyat (approximately $135) per day in Myanmar currency and a tier 2 customer can transfer up to 2,000,000 kyat (approximately $670) per day. day.

Personal information such as the account holder’s name, national identity card number and SIM card number will be verified against that person’s information from the Department of Immigration and Population.

Regarding the announcement, a Yangon resident said it was an unnecessary decision just to upset the public.

“I don’t usually transfer money with paid mobile apps. I’m a level 1 user because I only transfer money to my home. I haven’t upgraded my account because level 1 fine with me. We can’t upgrade our accounts to level 2 on our own. As they announced the permanent deletion [for accounts without full correct personal information), I have to upgrade my account now. This is just torturing the citizens.”

The junta-controlled CBM’s statement did not mention an exact deadline for the upgrade. 

When Mizzima recently contacted an employee at KPay, one of the most popular mobile payment services in Myanmar, she said: “The announcement has not arrived to us yet. We will announce it via Facebook when we receive an official statement. Currently, you can still use your Level-1 accounts.”

The CBM has warned that accounts with a lower level than 2 will be closed. Therefore, those unwilling to upgrade should contact mobile payment services to find ways to use their remaining balance. The junta’s announcement raises concern among those whose businesses are operated with a mobile payment system. It especially causes more worries for the elderly who are not familiar with digital payment apps. An elderly person who is using KBZ pay said: “I do not understand what they said about Level-1 or Level-2. I am going to transfer my money from KPay to the bank account for safety. I am afraid that my account will be terminated by alleging that I support the [anti-junta] revolution.”

Over the past few days, the CBM has strictly ordered representative payment service shops to install CCTV cameras and take pictures with a secret camera of those who transfer money through the mobile payment system. Recently, Wave Money, a mobile payment service in Myanmar, announced that it is mandatory to bring an ID card when transferring money in payment service stores.

Observers wonder if the changes are designed to cut off donations to resistance groups.

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