|26 November, 2019

E-payments accounting for 36% of all Saudi retail transactions by July 2019: study

Electronic payments exceed Financial Sector Development Program target for 2020

E-payments accounting for 36% of all Saudi retail transactions by July 2019: study

RIYADH: A study into electronic payments has revealed that e-payments accounted for more than 36% of all available payments in Saudi Arabia, including cash, exceeding the target share of non-cash transactions targeted by the Kingdom's Vision 2030, knowing that the objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) were to reach 28% by the end of 2020

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) in cooperation with the Saudi Payments Company conducted the study into the diversity of electronic payment methods. It found card payments accounted for the largest share of payments at nearly 30%, while other methods included SADAD platform payments and other financial payments.

The study also found that Mada Sale Service Points recorded an unprecedented increase in the number and value of purchase transactions. At the end of 2016 point of sales (POS) grew by 33%, while in 2017 and 2018 the growth rate was 35% and 46% respectively. Current figures for 2019 indicate the growth rate close to 53% (to the end of October 2019), to reach more than one billion and two hundred million operations (1.2M). Operations carried out using Mada Atheer (NFC) accounted for 52% of total operations this year as of the end of October, comparatively exceeding many developed countries in NFC services.

The study also revealed a significant expansion in the availability of Mada electronic payment devises in the commercial sector, such as gas stations. The total number of Mada devices in operation by the end of September 2019 was over 421,000 compared to 107,000 at the end of 2013.  This was in addition to the launch of Mada Atheer technology which had a significant role in increasing e-payments, especially with the introduction of a payment service via smart phones.

Overall the study reflected the success of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA)'s strategy to support an e-payment system, and the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP)aimed at enhancing e-payments and reducing cash transactions in line with Vision 2030. The overall aim of the strategy is for electronic payments to account for 70% by 2030.

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