Muscat: Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, in step with its dynamic new vision ‘To serve you better, everyday’ celebrated the 13th annual Partners in Progress awards ceremony at Grand Millennium Hotel as merchant partners who notched 45 million transactions on the bank’s payment network were honoured for outstanding contributions to card business in 2017.
Abdul Razak Ali Issa, the chief executive, presented the awards to senior officials and executives of winning ministries, institutions and companies covering a total of 36 categories ranging from government services to automobiles, airlines, telecommunications, hotels and hypermarkets.
The special awards for promoting electronic payments in the government sector were presented to the Royal Oman Police, Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Housing, Muscat Municipality, and Ministry of Regional Municipalities & Water Resources.
The Landmark Group won the Most Outstanding Merchant award and the Special Merchant Contribution award was bagged by Carrefour.
In recognition of promoting electronic payment across the Sultanate, the awards for Best Merchants in Regions were presented to Makkah Hypermarket, Oman International Container Terminal and Al Badyah Hypermarket. Global Money Exchange won the Best Exchange House in Oman award.
The 2017 Partners in Progress (PiP) award winners in other categories are Lulu Hypermarket (Hypermarket), Ooredoo (Telecom Operator), Salam Air (Airlines), Al Madina Development and Supply (e-Commerce), Emirates Medical Centre (Medical services), Axa Insurance (Insurance), Al Shaya International (Perfumes and cosmetics), Homes r Us (Furniture), EXTRA (Electronics), Saud Bahwan Automotive (Automotive Sales and Services), General Automotive (Car rentals), Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa (5 Star hotels), Crowne Plaza (4 Star hotels), Apparel International (Clothing & Fashion), Al Fair (Supermarkets), Pizza Hut (Casual dining), Caramel Restaurant and Lounge (Restaurants), Al Lilac Beauty Centre (Beauty salon & spas), Malabar Gold Jewellery (Jewellery), Horizon Fitness (Health & Fitness), Bahwan Tourism (Travel and Tourism), Al Danube Building Materials (Building Material and Suppliers), OIFC and ONEIC (Bill Payment Services), Oman Oil Marketing Company (Fuel stations).
Abdul Razak Ali Issa said: “Bank Muscat is proud to celebrate the 13-year journey together and joint success with merchant partners. We are witnessing remarkable developments in the payment industry and Bank Muscat is closely associated with the government and merchant partners to facilitate secure and convenient card payment across all sectors. The year 2017 was an exciting period for the bank’s Cards and the eBanking team as merchant partners recorded a 12 per cent increase in card transaction volumes and merchant outlets network grew by 15 per cent. In line with the e-governance initiatives by the government, the growth in card payment reflects that electronic payment is fast becoming the preferred mode of secure payment in the Sultanate.”
In 2017, in step with the payment industry in Oman attaining maturity, several institutions and companies associated with Bank Muscat to develop customised solutions to support their business and service. The Bank is currently working on multiple projects to provide these solutions.
The bank partnered with the government in introducing e-commerce solutions, which have added great convenience to citizens and businesses all over the country. The bank partnered with the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs to enhance the payment processes for Haj, Zakat and Sadaqah. The bank also partnered with the Ministry of Manpower to add more services on the e-commerce platform for the convenience of users.
The Dynamic Currency Payment service launched by the Bank offers tourists visiting Oman the convenience of paying in their home currencies. The ATEX certified terminals introduced by the Bank at fuel stations meet the strict safety standards for processing transactions in potentially explosive environments.
Amjad Al Lawati, AGM – Cards & eBanking, said: “Bank Muscat is proud to join hands with the government and merchant partners to create a robust payment industry in Oman. We congratulate all our partners for their achievements in the card business. The bank’s ability and flexibility to adapt, innovate and provide customised payment solutions have made us unique in the market. Our dedicated staff stand firm in their commitment to our new vision centred on customer-centricity and enhancing efficiency and productivity to further strengthen the payment industry in Oman.”
Bank Muscat commenced card acquiring operations in 2002 and since then has crossed many milestones to become the largest acquirer and issuer of cards in Oman. As the leading electronic payment service provider in Oman, Bank Muscat merchant outlet network has grown to over 10,000 with more than 17,000 PoS terminals deployed across the country and 250 e-commerce merchants processing close to 45 million transactions annually.
The bank is installing the latest 3G and IP PoS solutions to reduce transaction processing time and enhancing cardholder experience. Transactions can now be processed within 2 seconds with full data security.
The bank’s PoS terminals are integrated with electronic cash registers of many large organisations, thus simplifying their reconciliation processes while eliminating errors. The bank is currently working on many integration projects as more organisations see value in this process.
The bank is partnering with many organisations in providing self-service payment machines, which are fully compliant with the latest EMV and PCI-DSS standards.
Bulk cash deposit machines launched by the Bank help businesses deposit bulk cash in a safe and secure manner.
Bank Muscat continues to invest in upgrading its processing systems, network and fraud management capabilities to cater to the increase in electronic transactions and ensure uninterrupted service to merchant partners.