The CBO in its attempt to develop the payment systems in the Sultanate, has kept pace with the developments globally in payment systems. The National Payment Systems (NPS) are integral part of CBO’s financial stability objectives and the best internationally accepted standards have been adopted as a benchmark for setting up and operating the payment systems. The Central Bank of Oman’s role in the National Payment Systems comprise of:
In addition to the above responsibilities, the Central Bank of Oman currently function as an owner,operator and regulator of two kinds of systems: • Payments Settlement System • Payments Clearing Systems
Payments Settlement System:
The Payments Settlement system operated by CBO is called Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS System).
It is an electronic fund transfer mechanism between the participants of the settlement system, transfer funds on behalf of their customers and their own behalf, to other participants, using their settlement accounts which are held with the operator of the system (i.e. CBO). The transaction is settled on a gross basis, (means the transaction is settled on a one-to-one basis without bundling or netting with any other transaction). At the end of the day the accounts held in the General Ledger are updated with the balances in the participant settlement accounts.
The system also settles the transactions emanating from the Payments Clearing Systems, that net the obligations of each participant and final settlement is done by RTGS on a gross basis, at a pre-defined settlement time.
Payments Clearing System:
It is an electronic payment messages exchange mechanism, where the system accumulates all participants’ obligations occurred during the session, nets these obligations and sends the Net Clearing Position (NCP) file to the settlement system, at a pre-defined point of time, for final settlement. The NCP file contains instructions to either debit or credit the respective settlement accounts in the settlement systems (RTGS).
Currently, there are four clearing systems operated by CBO: (1) Electronic Cheque Clearing System (ECC) - Responsible for exchanging interbank cheques (2) Automated Clearing House (ACH) – catering to the recurring and single small value transactions (direct credit & direct debit), (3) OmanNet Switch- responsible for routing transactions done through one of these payments channels (POS, ATM, and Payment Gateway) and (4) MP-Clear- a 24/7 mobile payment system that enable payment transactions to be done through a mobile application.