Muscat – Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has announced a plan to introduce the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) standard in a bid to modernise the sultanate’s financial system and foster seamless domestic and international transactions.

CBO’s IBAN project, involving collaboration with the sultanate’s banking community, marks a significant step forward in Oman’s pursuit of a more efficient, transparent and globally connected banking system.

‘IBAN is a globally recognised standard that facilitates the identification of bank account numbers across national borders. The standard is currently used in over 80 countries,’ CBO stated in a post in X.

By adopting the IBAN system, CBO aims to further simplify financial transactions, increase transparency and streamline payment processes in the sultanate, ultimately enhancing the overall efficiency of the banking system.

CBO said key benefits of adopting IBAN include simplification of complex account numbers and bank codes, reducing the risk of errors and promoting greater transparency within the financial system. IBAN also offers faster processing times for both domestic and international payments, saving time for businesses and individuals alike.

According to CBO, IBAN is a significant step forward in modernising Oman’s financial infrastructure, enabling seamless local and international payments.

IBAN is a globally-accepted system used to make or receive international payments. It does not replace sort code and account numbers; it is an additional number with extra information to help overseas banks identify the right account for payments.

CBO has outlined a phased implementation plan for the IBAN system, with Phase 1 focusing on international remittances scheduled for completion by the end of Q1 2024. Phase 2 will encompass local transactions and will commence following the completion of Phase 1.

Additionally, CBO stated that banks operating in Oman will be required to upgrade their systems to accommodate IBAN generation and processing, as well as conduct thorough testing and validation across all digital banking channels. Banks will also be responsible for raising awareness among their customers about the benefits of IBAN and providing online services for IBAN number generation and validation.

Oman’s IBAN standard will comprise two alpha country codes, two numeric check digits, a three-numeric bank identifier, and a 16-numeric customer account number. This structure is designed to provide clear identification of financial institutions and facilitate smoother cross-border transactions.

As the IBAN standard gains traction in Oman, CBO anticipates the sultanate’s position will be strengthened in the global financial market aligning it with international best practices.

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