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Saudi Central Bank: Electronic payments exceeded 2021’s target

Electronic payments

Riyadh, (Business News Report) – The share of electronic payments in retail has exceeded 57% of total transactions conducted in 2021, surpassing the 55% target set out by the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP), the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) said.

Fahad Almubarak, governor of the Saudi Central Bank, stated that SAMA is working on promoting electronic infrastructure, expanding electronic payment activities and accelerating the electronic transformation of transactions, remarking that this most recent achievement was driven by the FSDP and the implementation of the Bank’s strategic plans for the payments sector,  primarily aiming to reduce dependency on cash, and increase the rate of electronic payments to 70% by 2025.

Almubarak also noted that joint efforts between the government and private sectors to increase payment choices and implement many payment digitization initiatives together with private sector innovation and expansion initiatives as well as opening financial services to a new class of FinTech stakeholders in the Kingdom, all played an instrumental role in making this achievement possible.

SAMA also noted that there were several jumps in the number and value of payments made through the National “mada” payment system during these past few years. The number of transactions made through this system has exceeded 5.1 billion transactions during 2021 for a growth rate of 81% compared to growth of 76% recorded in 2020, SAMA said.

SAMA also observed a sizable increase in the number of PoS terminal numbers and commercial sector coverage reaching more than a million PoS terminals were deployed by the end of 2021 compared to 721 thousand terminals deployed by the end of 2020.

Contactless Payments (NFC) methods also witnessed a tremendous increase in utilization as they accounted for 95% of all PoS transactions in 2021, alongside other electronic payment methods such as: e-commerce payments, “SADAD” system payments and the new Instant Money Transfer through “Sarie” system, and others.

Additionally, corporate payments in the business sector have marked a significant increase in electronic payments, with 84% of the sector’s total payment transactions being electronic in 2021, compared to just 51% in 2019, marking a 65% increase in electronic payment share during these past two years.

Results have also shown that major corporations rely on electronic payments to complete 99.6% of their transactions, while the same metric stood at 78% for SMEs transactions and 76% for those of micro enterprises.

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