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CBO gives nod for Apple Pay, Samsung Pay


Muscat: The Central Bank of Oman has issued guidelines and instructions for banks and payment service providers to provide the Card Tokenization Service, which will replace the current method of card-based payments.

The decision will be enforced based on the readiness of banks and payment service providers.

Customers can register payment cards on smart devices, and perform contactless payment transactions at local and international electronic payment applications on smart devices (such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.) in the Sultanate of Oman Customers will not be charged any fees for activating and using the service. According to CBO, the latest decision will encourage innovation in electronic payments and be less cash-dependent.

It will ensure a new seamless payment experience, enhance security in card payment transactions, and support the national digital transformation program and e-commerce strategy. From January 2022, the cashless payment scheme was rolled out in stages, covering shopping malls, cafes and restaurants, commercial centers, gift markets, jewelry stores, electronic shops, grocery stores, vegetables, and fruit sellers, building material shops, and outlets in industrial areas.

More people are resorting to cashless transactions such as account-to-account transfers via mobile or the Internet, giving a boost to government initiatives to achieve comprehensive digital transformation in the Sultanate.

The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) in its Financial Stability Report 2023 said that online retail transactions (direct credit & direct debit) exponentially increased in the Sultanate by 37.8 percent in 2022 from the previous year reaching 274.4 million from 199.2 million transactions.

The cheque payments volume has been decreasing- falling below the 5-year average- indicating the move from paper-based to digital alternatives.

Whereas, mobile payment usage showed a significant increase of 551 per cent in transactions and 385 per cent in value (Graph 2.2.4). Accordingly, the volume of E-Payment transactions increased by 39.4 per cent in 2022 to 252.9 million transactions compared to 180.8 million transactions in 2021, primarily driven by POS transactions (50.2 per cent), followed by transactions via e-commerce (35.5 per cent).

In comparative terms, the growth of ATM transaction volume was at a slower pace (8.75 per cent) compared to transactions performed via cashless means as people were encouraged during the pandemic to avoid unnecessary cash usage.

The value of transactions executed via retail systems increased by 13.1 per cent from the previous year reaching a total value of RO 27.3 billion, said the report.

The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) in its recent reports said that there has been a monitored a significant growth in the volume of electronic financial transactions and a decrease in transactions via bank checks, as well as in the volume of returned checks.

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