SAUDI ARABIA

IN DEVELOPMENT

Saudi Arabia has no IP scheme at present — but in April 2019, payment solution provider Vocalink (a Mastercard company) entered into partnership with Saudi Payments, with an aim to develop an IP system in the country. Saudi Payments is a fully owned subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority.

The platform will support immediate interbank transfers and will be available to both retail and corporate customers. Consumers will be able to make P2P transfers through their smartphones without having to supply recipients’ bank details.

MARKET DEVELOPMENT

ACCEPTANCE
  • Consumers
  • Banks
  • Merchants
  • Billers

Population banking level

1.68

Number of debit, credit and charge cards per adult

68

Index to global average

U

Underbanked

11%

% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have used it in the past year

Share of volumes by payments instrument

Transactions

2019
2024

Spend (USD)

2019
2024
  • Paper-based payments
  • Electronic payments
  • Immediate payments

Insight

With its “Vision 2030” plans, Saudi Arabia is planning for vast payments modernization including a shift away from cash and toward the evolution of a digital-first economy.

This vision, combined with its current high reliance on paper-based payments and low reliance on payment cards, makes IP an extremely attractive new payments option to Saudi Arabian consumers.

Enabling convenience is already a priority within the current plans for building the IP infrastructure, as the mobile phone initiation method should help lower the barriers to usage.

ACI’s take

Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of an exciting digital payments revolution. The Kingdom has seen an accelerated jump from cash to mobile payments, thanks in large part to adoption of mobile wallets.

This primes Saudi Arabia to see rapid transaction volume increase as IP goes live. Although the initial focus will be on account-to-account credit transfers, future phases will include digital overlay services and capabilities for request for payment, mobile proxy and bulk payments, with the aim to converge retail and corporate payments into the new modern infrastructure.

Additionally, the emergence of fintechs, digital-only banks and PSPs in the Kingdom, embraced and regulated by both SAMA as the regulator and Saudi Payments as the national payment systems operator, is likely to drive the creation of innovative new payment overlays. Participants in the ecosystem prepare for this major shift with their own internal payments modernization projects to enable for new payment services and create agility for speed to market.

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