Credit Scores to be introduced in Oman next year

Oman Credit and Financial Information Centre (Mala’a) — the Sultanate’s national databank — plans to roll out for the first time a credit score system for individual customers and corporate firms.
According to Adil al Saadi (pictured), Managing Director, the Credit Score system was soft-launched for the banking sector earlier this week, but will be formally implemented for both individuals and corporates in the second quarter of 2020.
“Sometime by next year, individuals will be able to get their own credit scores — ranging from 300 to 900 — 900 being the highest,” said Al Saadi. “There will also be an educational campaign to explain to the public how one can improve their credit scores, what they should do and don’t do to maintain a good credit score, and so on,” he stated at a press briefing on Tuesday to announce the new brand (Mala’a) of the nation’s first databank.
A credit score is a measure of an individual’s (or a corporate entity’s) ability to pay back a loan, say experts. It is numerically represented as a three-digit number that falls in the range of 300 to 900. A higher credit score enables borrowers to obtain a loan or credit card with minimum hassles. Credit scores take into account the customer’s credit history, repayment record, and other factors.
As part of the awareness campaign, due to commence today, Mala’a will engage with banks, including the Oman Banks Association (OBA), and stage roadshows as well, said Al Saadi.
Significantly, credit scores will be mainly used as part of a credit scoring system, which is envisioned as a new service to be offered by Mala’a to SME funds, specialised banks, and some local banks as well, according to the Managing Director.
“So a customer can log into a mobile app or website of website of a (lender), authenticate (their credentials) using national KPI, and apply for a micro loan, for example. The app will then ping the national databank, and directly relay the credit status of the customer to the bank, with zero human intervention, and with all checks and balances in place, enabling financial inclusion and enabling lending to rural areas. Our focus is mainly on mobile and mobile platforms in the next phase – because that’s the future.”
Additionally, Mala’a also plans to offer credit rating services to the corporate sector — an objective that will be taken in hand for implementation when the Centre achieves a high level of “maturity”, said the official.
“Credit rating is in our plan and is part of the Centre’s legal framework. It will be done not only for banks but companies as well. It can be used by companies to distinguish themselves when bidding for contracts, and so on. We will embark on this at some point — when we reach a certain state of maturity.”