Reduced Inequalities

Mobile money is making waves in Myanmar

Naypyitaw, Myanmar


Lack of trust

Myanmar has a long history of economic crises dating all the way back to the 1960s. This has led to many people in the country feeling mistrustful of financial institutions. In 2017 more than 90% of the population did not own a bank account and the majority of money in circulation was cash. This causes serious problems for the people of Myanmar. Hiding their savings at home makes them vulnerable to crime and the common practice of borrowing from loan sharks, in the absence of formal lending from banks, has created a never-ending cycle of debt in the country.

New wave

For these reasons, Telenor, FMI and Yoma bank got together and created mobile money service WaveMoney. Customers can instantly and safely transfer money through an easy to use mobile app or at their local Wave shop. Wave also provides customers with digital training, as many of them are from rural areas and lack any previous experience of mobile money or online services.

Money in the bank

By October 2018 over 4 million people had used the service, which is 10% of Myanmar’s population. Figures show that widespread adoption of these types of digital financial services could add $3.7 trillion to all emerging economies by 2025.

“I give half my wages to my mother, who hides it in her house. This makes me worry greatly as she is old and lives alone in an isolated place. On top of that I often don’t take home enough of a salary to feed my family so we are forever having to sell things to the pawn shop. With Wave Money my mother no longer has to keep cash under her mattress and now I can manage my savings much better. Soon I will be able to afford for her to live somewhere safer”

- Kham Keow, trishaw driver, Dala Village

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Myanmar

Myanmar 19.7633° N, 96.0785° E

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