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Bank Muscat presents Partners in Progress awards to merchants

MUSCAT, 24 March 2013 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, celebrated the 9th annual Partners in Progress awards ceremony as merchant partners were honoured for outstanding contributions to card business in 2013. AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive, presented the awards to senior executives of winning institutions and companies covering a total of 31 categories ranging from government services to automobiles, airlines, telecommunications, hotels, hypermarkets and charities.

The Landmark Group won the Most Outstanding Merchant award as the Special Award winners for the government sector were the Royal Oman Police, the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, and Muscat Municipality. The Special Merchant Contribution awards were won by Oman Oil, Oman Investment and Finance Company (OIFC) and Muscat Duty Free.

The 2013 Partners in Progress (PiP) award winners include LuLu Hypermarket (Hypermarkets), Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa (5 Star hotels), Nawras (Telecommunications), Damas (Jewellery), Al Fair (Supermarkets), Crowne Plaza (4 Star hotels), EXTRA (Electronics), Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (Automotive sales and Services), Oman Air (Airlines), Omantel (E-commerce services), Ajmal International (Perfumes and cosmetics), Muscat Private Hospital (Medical services), Apparel International (Clothing & fashion), Muscat Pharmacy (Pharmacies), AXA Insurance (Insurance services), Home r Us (Furniture), Elegant Rent A Car (Car rentals), Pizza Hut (Casual dining), Kargeen Café (Restaurants), Beauty Centre (Beauty salon & spas), Universal Travel and Tourism (Travel and Tourism), Al Khalili & Sons (Building material suppliers), Horizon Fitness & Beauty (Health & fitness centres).

AbdulRazak Ali Issa said: “The year 2013 was an exciting as well as challenging period for the bank's Cards and eBanking team as merchant partners recorded a 54 per cent increase in card transactions volume and merchant outlets network grew by 30 per cent. The outstanding growth in figures reflects that electronic payment is fast becoming the preferred mode of payment in the Sultanate. The bank's success in changing the customer payment behavior from 'cash to card' is encouraging. The Partners in Progress Award reflects this appreciation in tribute to our merchant partners and customers who have supported the bank to grow from strength to strength. The bank's dynamic 'Let's Do More' vision reflects the readiness to face future challenges."

In 2013, the bank continued its journey of enhancing the electronic payment infrastructure in the country. Bank Muscat acquired the point of sale acquiring business from HSBC Oman, further consolidating the leadership position in the merchant acquiring business in the local market. A smooth transition of business was facilitated without any disruption of services to merchants formerly associated with HSBC Oman. The acquisition made an immediate positive impact to the merchants with many benefits, including state-of-the-art PoS terminals, electronic merchant statements and next day payments.

Tariq Atiq, AGM – Cards & eBanking, said: “Reflecting our commitment to providing the 'Best in Class' service, Bank Muscat continues to invest in cutting edge IT infrastructure, latest Point of Sale terminals and competent human resources available in the payments industry. It is this 'dedication' and 'commitment to service' that has made Bank Muscat the preferred electronic payment service provider to the nation. Our ability and flexibility to adapt, innovate and provide customised payment solutions have made us unique in the market."

Bank Muscat has launched a number of exciting campaigns offering once-in-a-lifetime rewards to cardholders. Notably, Bank Muscat, in association with Visa, has been granted an exclusive positioning among 20 global banks chosen as official Retail Bank of 2014 FIFA World Cup™. Bank Muscat is the only financial institution in Oman to receive this unique privilege. Football enthusiasts in Oman will have the unique opportunity to experience the thrills and excitement of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ matches, including the finals, live in Brazil, as Bank Muscat, in association with Visa, is offering 66 all-expenses-paid packages to the bank customers.

Bank Muscat commenced card acquiring operations in 2002 and since then has crossed many milestones to become the largest acquirer and issuer of cards in Oman. As the leading electronic payment service provider in Oman, Bank Muscat has deployed over 10000 PoS terminals across the country to support e-payment and continues to expand rapidly.