Muscat: The much-awaited Apple Pay digital payment service will be launched in the Sultanate in the next few months, probably this summer, sources from the banking industry told the Observer.

Supported in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain, Apple Pay is a mobile payment service that allows users to make payments in person, in iOS apps, and on the web.

On the sidelines of Comex 2024, an executive from CBO said that Apple is in the final stages of preparations and will be launched in the next couple of months, which was also confirmed by major banks.

For iPhone users, Apple Pay can replace the current system of payments via credit or debit cards at cash counters.

Last year, the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) issued guidelines and instructions for banks and payment service providers to provide the Card Tokenization Service, which will replace the current method of card-based payments.

The decision has to be enforced based on the readiness of banks and payment service providers. Customers can register payment cards on smart devices, and perform contactless payment transactions at local and international electronic payment applications on smart devices (such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.) in the Sultanate of Oman.

Customers will not be charged any fees for activating and using the service.

According to CBO, the latest decision will encourage innovation in electronic payments and be less cash-dependent.

Card tokenization is a process of replacing sensitive information on a recipient’s card (like the card number, expiration date, and security code) with a personalized and unique identifier, or a token, which acts as a stand-in for the actual card data and can be used for all transactions.

In April this year, the National Bank of Oman (NBO), Sohar International, Bank Dhofar, and Ahli Bank launched Samsung Pay, the digital wallet in which customers add their credit/debit cards and secure it all using a PIN or personal biometric data, allowing the tap to pay with the device only through NFC payments, a common technology used by tap-to-pay terminals.

"Customers can use the services locally and internationally without issues. We anticipate that other global payment providers like Apple and Google will introduce their services in Oman in the upcoming months, " according to Mohamed Saif al Manji, TechOneFive, an initiative group founded by Omani youth to spread technological knowledge and build awareness of new technologies.

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