14/08/2018 07:19 AST

The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has announced that it is currently formulating guidelines designed to enable the efficient roll-out of electronic wallets and other payment instruments used by banking and non-banking institutions, as well as strengthen the role of payment service providers in the Sultanate.

The move builds on the National Payment Systems Law (NPSL) issued via Royal Decree 8/2018 in February this year, which provides a legal framework for the establishment of a digital payments systems in the Sultanate. It also reinforces the Central Bank’s preeminent role in the regulation and supervision of payment systems in general.

“CBO is currently drafting the secondary regulations of the NPSL in collaboration with the Ministry of Legal Affairs, to build provisions for licensing payment system operators, payment service providers for providing payment services such as electronic wallets and all payment instruments issued and used in the Sultanate by banks and non-banks,” said the apex bank in its 2017 Annual Report, published here late last week.

“Additionally, the proposed secondary regulations will also set rules for payment system operators and payment service providers and establish the legality of CBO to oversee and examine such licensed entities in the Sultanate,” the Bank stated.

The National Payment System is the latest in a series of initiatives launched by the banking and financial services regulator to help strengthen Oman’s payment infrastructure while supporting the introduction of innovative and efficient payment channels.

The System incorporates, among other components, the Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) System, the Automated Clearing House System (ACH) for retail payments, Electronic Cheque Clearing (ECC) System, and ATM / POS switch integrated with the e-Payment Gateway.

Seeking to enhance the quality of the payment infrastructure, the Central Bank implemented the mobile payment clearing and switching system — known as MpClear — in July last year.

“The MpClear System promises interoperability and unified switching and clearing services between various mobile banking/wallets services operated by banks and payment service providers,” the Central Bank said.

“The uniqueness of MpClear lies in its functionality to conduct a fund transfer with the use of just a mobile number and accommodation of the unbanked sector, thereby giving an impetus to financial inclusion in the Sultanate of Oman. With MpClear, participants can conduct a wide range of payments such as, Person-to-Person (P2P), Person-to-Business (P2B) , Person-to-Government (P2G), Person-to-Merchant (P2M), Business-to-Person (B2P), Government-to-Person (G2P), Business-to-Business (B2B), etc,” it added.

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