The government of Oman has taken further steps to enhance access to its e-Governance initiative designed to promote cashless transactions countrywide.

Last September, the Omani government launched a program under which it distributed an electronic purse tied to national identification cards in collaboration with France-based Gemalto NV. Beginning July 19, citizens began being allowed to load value in the e-purse account at all banks, government agencies and select large-format retailers in the country, according to a spokesperson for Bank Muscat, which issues ID cards.

“The purse can be loaded with amounts ranging from 5 to 1,000 Omani rial,” he says. “In addition, the e-government services portal will be expanded to pay for more administrative services.” One rial equals US$2.59 or 2 euros.

Citizens may use the e-purse to pay for birth and marriage certificates, car registrations, driver’s licenses, visa applications, retail purchases from some supermarkets, and parking and tolls.

“Access to the e-purse has increased as we have widened the ways it could be loaded,” the spokesperson tells PaymentsSource. “Earlier, the e-purse could only be loaded at stations of the Royal Oman Police.”

Data related to the e-purse transactions were not immediately available, though Bank Muscat plans to release transaction information at the end of August, the spokesperson says.

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