National ID card to allow e-payments in future
Oman set to rollout service later this year with the support of NETS in Singapore
SINGAPORE: Governments in the Middle East are working with Singapore-based cashless payment experts Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) on a project that will see National ID cards used to make electronic payments.
According to Ang Sok Hong, VP of Switching and Internet Business at NETS, the Government of Oman will be the first to take the leap. The country is already implementing a new 'ePurse' service, which was developed with the support of NETS.
ePurse, which will be rolled out in stages, will initially see ID cards equipped with e-payment capabilities used by the Oman Police Force later this year with the aid of special payment terminals.
NETS has been at the forefront of cashless payment in Singapore for twenty five years now and boasts a merchant partner network of more than 15,000 in the island country.
Hong told itp.net that NETS was approached through IDA Singapore by governments in the Middle East to provide the "the technical know-how" of building the ePurse system for each Gulf country, along with the necessary cards, payment terminals and back-end structure.
Hong admits the company is in discussions with the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan for a similar service, but expects greater traction once Oman goes live with ePurse this year.
According to the deputy head of the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), Dr. Ali Al Khouri, a little over 1.8 million Emiratis and residents have registered for National ID cards in the United Arab Emirates so far.