Muscat: In a startling revelation, the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has reported that there were more than 460,000 bounced cheques recorded across the banking and financial system in 2018.
According to CBO, this is an alarming 9.9 per cent rise, compared to those dishonoured cheques in 2017. Approximately 469,187 cheques were bounced in 2018 compared to 426,977 in 2017. “When people pay by cheque, there is an element of trust involved,” said the apex bank in its 2019 Financial Stability Report (FSR), which was published on Thursday.
Under Oman’s law, issuers of bounced cheques are given the opportunity to make amends within a stipulated timeframe, failing which they are liable to fines and even prison terms. “Occasionally, cheques may bounce for a variety of reasons. Insufficient funds continue to lead the list of reasons of bounced cheques (78.2 per cent), followed by account closed or “legally blocked” account (12.6 per cent), and then MICR Encoding errors (1.9 per cent),” CBO said in the report.
Bouncing a cheque was the number one crime in Oman in 2017, according to Public Prosecution data. Issuing bounced cheques topped the list of the 10 most reported crimes in Oman in 2017.