The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has announced launch of its redesigned Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment system on November 18, 2017, which marks the National Day of the Sultanate, thereby attaining one more milestone of providing a safe and secure electronic payments environment in the country.
CBO has undertaken this initiative of implementing the redesigned ACH System for retail payments, based on a web technology empowered by powerful security standards, which consists of direct credit and direct debit transactions, coupled with Mandate Management System (MMS) for direct debit transactions and the Wages Protection System (WPS) module in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower (MOMP). It attempts to ensure efficiency for the multiple credit and debit transactions.
ACH system solution handles the clearing cycle for the transactions exchanged between banks on 24/7 basis, within the country and settling the cleared payments transactions in the Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS). Interoperability and flexibility with other third party systems is ensured through a set of standard message formats and Straight Through Processing (STP) capabilities.
The MMS ensures that the authorized mandates for the direct debits are available in the system for verification when any direct debit transaction is effected. The WPS is a module that serves the objective of guaranteeing the basic rights of employees in the private sector by applying systematic control and auditing process by MOMP and ensures obtaining the wages on time. The WPS module promises to satisfy the reporting requirements for CBO and Ministry of Manpower.
The direct credit module, provides a convenient platform for the customers of the banks to credit the accounts of single or multiple beneficiaries by a single debit to their account. Hence, it facilitates faster and efficient e-payments such as salary transfers and dividend payments. The direct debit module, provides the facility for the beneficiaries to debit the accounts of multiple payers and seek single credit such as bill payments and periodic repayments.
This is accompanied with a direct debit mandate given by the payer to the beneficiary extending power to debit payer account, following a prescribed process. The mandate is stored in the MMS and available for verification during a transaction. Hence, the above enables faster and timely processing of bill payments, dividend payments, salary transfers, person-to-person fund transfers, person-to-business, person to government, etc. Accordingly, the system helps in advancing the economic cycle by faster movement of funds. The WPS is an attempt to ensure that the employees are paid their salary by the employers through the banking channel, which is processed through the direct credit module of the ACH.
CBO has always been the forerunner in providing a safe and secure environment for the payments in the country. CBO acknowledges the efforts taken by the stakeholders and their cooperation in ensuring the smooth Go-live of this ACH project.