Officials in Myanmar say three private banks have signed agreements with Visa Inc. to enable international travelers to use credit cards and withdraw cash from ATM machines by January.

Until recently, foreign visitors were barred from using credit cards in the Southeast Asian nation because of financial sanctions imposed by the US and EU to punish the former military regime.

Those restrictions were lifted earlier this year after democratic reforms, and some businesses have already begun accepting credit cards.

Than Lwin, deputy chairman of Kanbawza Bank, says the deal was agreed between Visa and his bank as well as two others — Cooperative Bank and Myanmar Oriental Bank.

He called the agreement "a milestone" that will boost the tourism industry in particular.