Landmark study reveals trust in banking system but Myanmar people need modern financial knowledge


Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, today launched the landmark study Financial Education for Sustainable Growth, a comprehensive report examining the perceptions, attitudes and behaviors Myanmar people have towards personal finance (the “Study”).

The Study revealed people are optimistic about Myanmar’s near-term economic direction, job opportunities and financial security. However, the majority of people said they lack the knowledge and skills to manage modern personal finances, with only 36 percent saying that banking products and services are easy to understand.

Arturo Planell, Country Manager of Visa Myanmar said the Study presents an opportunity for the financial industry to innovate and reconnect with consumers as the majority now see banks as safe, trustworthy and transparent.

“I’m proud to launch this landmark Study which demonstrates the people of Myanmar are very optimistic about the future state of the country. However, there is a clear gap in financial knowledge so now is the time for the industry to come together and support consumers with the necessary skills and information to manage their personal finances.

“People need to understand the opportunities that modern banking and electronic payments can provide to help them build financial security. I’m confident providing people in Myanmar with financial knowledge will improve lives and grow the national economy.”

Three in five people surveyed said that they expect their financial situation to be better a year from now than it is today.  A further 69 percent agreed that the next generation would be better off financially than the current generation.
Today there are high levels of understanding of traditional financial tools, such as remittances, gold and land investments, but there is real need for more knowledge around topics such as bank accounts, electronic payments or insurance - half of urban consumers are not yet aware of credit cards or insurance.  

The Study shows that 38 percent of urban adults have a bank account and another 49 percent wish to open a bank account, but only 16 percent consider themselves to “know quite a bit about it.”  

While the majority of those surveyed expressed high levels of comfort using cash nearly half said they could manage for a single day without it.  Further still, almost all of the survey respondents said a cashless society is possible with 50 percent believing Myanmar could potentially become cashless in four to seven years. 

“Moving from cash to digital payments will provide enormous advantages to Myanmar’s consumers, governments, and businesses,” Mr. Planell said, citing a study that found electronic payments added MMK 55 billion to Myanmar’s economy from 2011 to 20151.

“At Visa we hope the ideas and insights in this Study will spark and enrich public dialogues around policies and best practices that will lead to sustainable economic progress in Myanmar, encouraging all stakeholders in the financial industry to play their part as the country integrates more closely with the global economy,” Mr. Planell concluded.


1 The Impact of Electronic Payments on Economic Growth - A study conducted by Moody's Analytics for Visa analyzed the impact of electronic payments on economic growth across 70 countries between 2011 and 2015.



There were two components to this study – a quantitative survey of 1,044, people across Yangon, Mandalay, Taunggyi, Pathein and Magway, to understand the financial and payment habits and attitudes of the urban population of Myanmar. Following this eight one-on-one in-depth interviews were conducted, split equally between Yangon and Mandalay to delve deeper into the attitudes of the distinct consumer segments uncovered in the quantitative survey. Data collection for the study was done in August 2017.

About Visa

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world’s most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, pay ahead with prepaid or pay later with credit products. For more information, visit, and @VisaNews.