The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has declared the launch date for a new electronic instant payments system the Kingdom has designed to reduce its dependency on cash and to boost the growth of the eCommerce sector.
With the successful completion of trials that SAMA was conducting, the new digital transaction scheme will be activated with the participating banks from February 21 onwards, according to sources.
The new system which will be operated under the supervision of SAMA is expected to contribute to the country’s economic development by increasing the speed and ensuring the efficiency of financial transactions in the corporate and retail sectors.
In addition, the instant payment system will help the Kingdom to improve the transparency of payments between companies and individuals as well as provides an option for customers to conduct immediate financial transactions between accounts in local banks, with lower fees than current interbank transfers, the central bank added.
Earlier, Talat Zaki Hafiz, an economist and board member of the Saudi Financial Association, had stated that “such payment solutions will not only speed up the movement of money between clients’ bank accounts but also help eCommerce to grow, since it ensures making speedy payments of goods and services to the merchants, which, in turn, makes shopping much easier and enjoyable.”
Mr. Hafiz, further pointed out that the processing of local payments had been limited to the working hours of banks, which did not include weekends and holidays and with the new system, transactions would be able to take place 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
With the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions driven by it, the eCommerce sector in Saudi Arabia got into a growth trajectory with a 75 percent increase in digital payment transactions, reports show.