CBO is working to enable direct debit, 24/7 funds transfers
Muscat: A number of measures to support the rollout of electronic payment initiatives are expected to be launched this year, according to the Central Bank of Oman (CBO), in line with its broader strategy to advance the digitalization of payment transactions and to anchor the growth of a digital economy in the Sultanate of Oman.
These initiatives, whose introduction was accelerated during the pandemic from 2020, include plans for a direct debit system in place of recurring check payments, as well as a 24-hour funds transfer system and 7 days a week between individuals and individuals to businesses.
“The digitization of payment systems is the key initiative to achieve the goal of an inclusive digital society in the Sultanate,” said the country’s apex bank. “The digitization of payment systems will help provide affordable and accessible payment services that pave the way for building an inclusive financial system in the country,” he said in his recently released 2020 annual report. .
Of note is the planned introduction of the direct debit instrument – touted as an “alternative secure payment option” which will help make redundant the current system of issuing checks for recurring payments of rent, EMI of loan, monthly or quarterly utility bills, etc. .
In addition, the Central Bank is currently upgrading the Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system – the centerpiece of the country’s national payment system infrastructure – to enable its 24/7 operation. The upgrade will also allow for better cash management and better resolution of traffic jams, according to the CBO. Its planned integration with the GCC’s RTGS system will also facilitate cross-border payments to recipients in the Gulf States.
Meanwhile, the Automated Clearing House (ACH) will operate around the clock to facilitate affordable person-to-person or person-to-business fund transfers, paving the way for instant credit services, the Central Bank noted. .
Among other initiatives being considered by the CBO, it is proposed to introduce a new nationwide electronic bill presentment and payment platform. In addition, the Central Bank is studying the possibility of entrusting the operations of retail payment systems to a separate entity. In addition, to facilitate cross-border remittances, interconnections with various payment systems around the world are also being considered.
In addition, as previously reported by the Monitor, the Central Bank is preparing to roll out the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) system in the Sultanate of Oman – a measure that will help speed up the electronic verification of bank accounts during electronic payments and reduce the risk of errors in bank account numbers.
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