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BankMuscat launches innovative online portal to offer exclusive deals

MUSCAT, 4 June 2012 – BankMuscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, on Monday (4 June 2012) launched BankMuscat Souq, a novel e-commerce initiative offering exclusive deals to cardholders through tie-ups with leading merchants. The innovative online portal bankmuscatsouq.com is available to BankMuscat cardholders, aimed at promoting card usage and making e-payments a matter of choice.

To begin with, bankmuscatsouq.com offers exclusive travel deals for BankMuscat debit and credit cardholders. The attractive deals include competitive rates on flight tickets, holiday packages, hotels and accommodation, car rentals, airport transfers and sightseeing in several countries across the globe as well as special fares on Haj and Umrah, overseas healthcare packages, spa-beauty and wellness treatments. The fully functional travel portal with instant booking / confirmation / payment capability is powered by Travel Point / Travel City, a leading travel agency in Oman with the largest network across the Sultanate.

Tariq Atiq, Assistant General Manager – Cards & eBanking, said: “BankMuscat Souq is an attempt to encourage and promote the e-Payment culture in Oman, thereby lending a strong support to the government's e-Governance initiative. The unique facility encourages customers to pay by cards, underscoring the fact that payment by cards is both convenient and secure."

Tariq Atiq added: “We are very happy that Travel Point has come on board with us to offer special travel deals for BankMuscat cardholders. Soon we will expand our merchant category to include food, beauty, fashion, healthcare and many more to make BankMuscat Souq a comprehensive online shop that offers BankMuscat cardholders the best deals available in the market. The portal is expected to motivate a change in consumer behaviour that makes payment by cards both a habit and preference."

Sunil Prabhakar, Group General Manager, Travel Point, said: “Today, customer buying behavior indicates a very high trend towards online shopping, especially for travel and related products. Joining hands with BankMuscat gives us the chance to offer customers this extra convenience they need at unique prices. BankMuscat cardholders can purchase airline tickets and packages, book hotel rooms and airport transfers in Omani Riyals and save big on conversion rates. We congratulate BankMuscat for this unique initiative and we are very happy to associate with this one-of-a-kind Omani portal."

On selecting the travel option on BankMuscat Souq landing page, customers will need to accept a disclaimer that will direct them to the travel section where all desired flight options, package itineraries and worldwide hotels can be browsed and booked in very simple steps. The functioning of the site is very similar to leading online portals, with an extremely secure payment gateway.

Prabhakar added: “The major attraction of BankMuscat Souq is that all products are priced in Omani Riyals on purchase with BankMuscat debit or credit cards. There will be dynamic and constant updates of hot deals, limited offers and attractive holiday packages on the travel portal."

Ever since BankMuscat commenced card acquiring operations 10 years ago, the Bank has played a pivotal role in revolutionising the cards payments landscape in Oman with innovative products and services offered to the market. Several projects are in the pipeline to enhance e-payment infrastructure in the country. New e-Commerce opportunities are identified with the introduction of a state-of-the-art payment gateway. BankMuscat is making all efforts to assist merchants to adopt e-Commerce as a business model.