Load, recharge and shop. That, in a nutshell, sums up what your cash transactions are about to be like.
Move over credit cards, e-Purse is here. The launch of this state-of-the-art technology — designed to help those bulky wallets bow out for good — could well mark the beginning of a cashless society.
Introduced as part of the national e-Governance initiative, the e-Purse, embedded on national ID and resident cards, is the first of its kind in the region. Implemented by the Royal Oman Police (ROP), in association with the Information Technology Authority (ITA) and BankMuscat, the national e-Purse project will revolutionise cash transactions.
During the first phase of the project, the e-Purse can be loaded with cash only at BankMuscat branches, with the Point of Sale (PoS terminals) network of the bank facilitating card-based transactions at ROP directorates, ministries and government establishments.
In the second phase, the customers will have it even easier — the e-Purse can be loaded with cash at other banks too.
Dr Salim Al Ruzaiqi, chief executive officer, ITA, said: “Notably, being the first of its kind in the region, the e-Purse conveys a strong Omani sentiment. Unlike other bank cards linked to global payment systems for cash payment and settlement process, all transactions done on e-Purse originate and end within Oman. The provision of numerous applications equips the Omani ID card to do much more than a mere ID card.”
“Being an identity card, the e-Purse always remains with citizens and residents. Whenever e-Purse is used, the identity of the user is verified and the government can track each transaction. The support from ITA to the e-Purse project is in line with the directive of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to enhance e-government services in Oman,” he added.
“Oman can be proud of successfully launching the state-of-the-art electronic chip-based identity card for citizens and resident card for expatriates. Taking forward the feature-rich national ID card, the e-Purse facility marks a new era in the mode of cash transactions in Oman,” Lt-Col Jamal bin Said Al Taie, assistant director-general of finance, ROP.
“With the introduction of e-Purse, the Sultanate joins a select few countries with this facility. Besides personal identification features, the ID card offers a number of in-built options, facilitating a wide range of services, which will be progressively activated. The e-Purse greatly reduces fraud and theft and cash handling costs; is a highly secure system and provides more choice for customers. The e-Purse is set to emerge as a convenient tool for all financial transactions in Oman.”
Sulaiman Al Harthy, Group DGM (Consumer Banking), BankMuscat, said: “With the introduction of e-Purse, the cash payment landscape significantly changes in Oman. The Sultanate marks a major shift in its e-Governance initiative launched on the directive of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to equip the country in line with the 21st century technological advancement.”
In step with eOman launched by ITA, BankMuscat has been in the forefront, facilitating electronic payments for services rendered by government departments, including the ROP. BankMuscat is the first card-acquiring bank to support ITA’s electronic payment for goods and services offered by the government, officials said.