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Common GCC payments platform likely to be launched by Feb 2020

23 Oct 2019

With the Gulf Cooperation Council’s efforts to establish an efficient cross-border payment and settlement system in the region, a common payments platform for linking local payment systems in the GCC states is expected to be launched by February 2020.

To facilitate the establishment and operations of the common GCC payments platform, a company, Gulf Payments Company (GPC), which is owned and funded by the six central banks of the GCC countries, has been established.

GPC will be responsible to manage and operate GCC-RTGS System and provide other related payment services to the banking industry in the GCC.

Headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, GPC is a fully functioning organisation that provides safe, efficient, and cost-effective cross-border payments system while leveraging cutting edge technologies in accordance with international standards.

‘The annual GCC cross-border payments flow is over US$2tn through over 2.3mn transactions. The GCC-RTGS System is expected to go-live by February 2020,’ the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) said in a press statement.

In coordination with the CBO, last week GPC conducted the first GCC-RTGS System seminar with the GCC banking community at Sheraton Oman hotel in Muscat. The objective of the seminar was to introduce the common system and explain the operational and technical details of GCC-RTGS System and discuss the roles and responsibilities of the participating banks in the system, the CBO said in its statement.

Speaking at the event, Dr Qais al Yahyai, executive vice president of the CBO, highlighted the importance of the GCC-RTGS System and mentioned about the feasibility study carried out on the idea of establishing a common GCC payments platform.

Ali al Homidan, chief executive officer of GPC, provided an overview about the company and the GCC-RTGS System.

The seminar was attended by senior representatives of all the GCC central banks along with more than 300 delegates from commercials banks in the GCC region.

The GCC-RTGS System is a platform that will link all GCC Local RTGS systems together to process and settles cross-border payments in GCC region in real time basis, in comparison with current method of processing cross-border payments which is found to be time consuming, complex and not cost effective, the CBO statement said.

The new system is expected to further enhance the security and efficiency of cross-border payments across the region and significantly reduce transaction processing time and cost. The system will also contribute in the infrastructure to facilitate the clearing and settlement of financial operations that will strengthen the regional market and promote the integration of financial markets in GCC countries.

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