SAMA to Introduce Independent Instant Payment System in Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 26 February, 2020 - 13:00
Riyadh - Mohammed al-Ayed

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has revealed a project to introduce an instant payment system in the Kingdom.

It announced licensing two digital wallet companies, bringing the number of authorized payment companies to four in the financial technology sector.

SAMA said this step is significant in the financial sector development program to achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

SAMA Governor Ahmed Alkholifey has expressed great interest in investing to develop a solid infrastructure for the financial sector.

He said this could be done by working on a program to develop digital payment solutions that mainly promotes economic development by increasing the effectiveness of financial transactions among all parties in the corporate and retail sectors.

In his speech on the sidelines of MEFTECH Conference, organized by SAMA in Riyadh, Alkholifey said the project will enable banking institutions and financial technology companies to improve current banking products, manage cash flows for the business sector and provide innovative services that meet customer needs and aspirations.

It will also enhance and raise their risk management efficiency and combat fraud and money laundering, he added.

Recent developments in the instant payment system will positively accelerate e-transactions on the medium and long terms and contribute effectively to achieving the initiative to move towards a society less dependent on cash, Alkholifey explained.

His remarks were made as the rate of e-payments in the Kingdom increased in H1 2019. The rate non-cash transactions increased to 36.2 percent, exceeding the target rate in 2020 of 28 percent.

He affirmed that the results of the performance of the Saudi payment systems have showed a record growth in the number of POS operations by 57 percent, reaching more than 1.6 billion payments through SAMA’s website alone.

The total value of operations amounted to an unprecedented record, exceeding SAR287 billion, with a growth rate of 24 percent, he said, adding that the number of operations implemented through NFC reached 918.5 million, with a growth rate of 442 percent.

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