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CBO urges SMEs to switch to e-payment options

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The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) is encouraging commercial establishments, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to embrace electronic payment and bank card options for all their financial transactions.

The appeal came during a recent international conference on business and finance held in the city. Officials underlined the convenience, integrity and cost-effectiveness of e-payment options, as well as their contribution to Oman’s broader digital transformation.

To support the widespread uptake of e-payment options, the Central Bank has instructed service providers to make it cost-competitive for merchants and consumers to consider electronic payment channels in place of conventional currency.

Payment service providers have been asked, for example, to waive the price of point-of-sale (POS) devices, installation fees, monthly or annual fees and providing support and assistance to merchants.

Also in line with the apex bank's vision to promote electronic payments in the Sultanate of Oman, the infrastructure has been put in place to support the use of payment services via the QR Code by commercial establishments through payment service providers – an initiative that has been in service since 2019.

Fees for this service are competitive as well. The Mobile Payment Option Fee (QR Code) for the government sector is up to a maximum of 0.75 per cent of the transaction amount, provided that it does not exceed RO 1. For the private sector, the fee is a maximum of 0.75 per cent of the transaction amount. The consumer does not incur any fees when paying via the mobile phone.

For transfer services via mobile phone, individual users can perform a transfer from one person to another via three routes: QR Code, Phone Number, and Nickname: Alias. A fee of only 100 baizas has been set as a maximum for transfer from one person to another, and the service provider may not impose this fee on its customers.

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