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Bank cards become an alternative to ‘cash’ for government services

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KUWAIT CITY, Feb 1: Ministry of Finance plays a remarkable role in developing the scheme of collecting fees for government services through nonstop development plan pertaining to the financial stamp system, reports Al-Rai daily.

The daily quoting an informed source said the ministry started by dispensing the traditional paper stamp with an electronic version issued instantly and the value paid “cash”.

It was followed last month by issuance of stamps instantly through direct payment via “Point of Sell” devices to government employees, with bank cards as an alternative to “cash”. Another Ministry of Finance source explained that the sector distributed necessary devices to facilitate implementation of the new service in roughly 40 government agencies dealing with citizens and expatriates daily, with an option to continue paying cash via direct sale devices for the electronic stamps.

He said the ministry is studying the possibility of canceling cash payment for stamps and modifying direct sale machines to work with bank cards as well. The source pointed out that the current method of payment with bank cards does not require citizens and residents to break any sweat, as the ministry is focused on high indicators of financial inclusion in Kuwait, so there are no clients who do not have a bank account and cards to pay for all kind of services.

The source stated a citizen or resident can now apply for the service and present his bank card to the government employee when issuing the stamp to pay in the same way as the regular purchase from any point of sale, stressing that working in this manner achieves a double benefit, as it serves the government and the public at the same time.

On the government side, this mode of payment solves the issue of ‘non activation of electronic stamps’, which is reflected in the ministry’s pocket without knowing the point where the sale was made, while the new method will issue an activated stamp inherent to tightening the grip on preventing fraud to protect government money.

“This method also reduces the mammoth efforts the Ministry of Finance makes periodically in tracking the entitlements of government agencies from the sale of electronic stamps, especially as the stamp can only be used by the issuing party, meaning the stamps of the Ministry of Interior will remain within their scope and cannot be used in another ministry”, explained the source. On the other hand, the approval of bank cards in issuing stamps is an advantage for clients, as it solves the problem of lack of “cash” and denominations required to purchase stamps when visiting the government agencies. In this case, payments can be made via “KNET” without obstacles.

The benefits of this system extend to the shortening of procedures, as the transaction that requires fees is completed in a step instead of three steps, and the payment process is done on “K-NET device” with the service employee.

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