Saudi Central Bank unveils ‘Sarie’ to promote national payments’ ecosystem

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has launched the instant payment system (IPS) Sarie, under the patronage of the bank’s governor, Dr. Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak, through a virtual event organized by Saudi Payments.

Sarie is developed and operated by Saudi Payments, to facilitate cash transactions across the local banks, providing clients instant money transfer via a seamless process accessible 24×7.

The introduction of the Sarie system is part of a series of SAMA-led initiatives aimed at fostering the ecosystem of national payments and developing its infrastructure to achieve financial inclusion, said Al-Mubarak.

SAMA’s governor added that national payment systems are fundamental in strengthening the Kingdom’s pioneering position in the financial sector. It provides safe and innovative payments, meet the needs of different segments of the economy and increase the productivity of the distribution of liquidity in the financial system by reducing operational costs of cash handling, promoting the sending and receiving of payments, and driving the digital transition of the Kingdom by increasing the volume of digital financial transactions.

Dr. Fahad Al-Mubarak
Dr. Fahad Al-Mubarak
Saudi Central Bank

“The launching of the sarie system is the result of several months of meticulous efforts with all the partners. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the speed of the instant payment system’s deployment across all the local banks is the fastest of its kind worldwide. sarie services will allow the banking sector’s clients to send and receive low-value local transactions around the clock and for a low fee, not exceeding one riyal. Additionally, the system provides beneficiaries with other services and transfer options, including using the mobile number as an identifier instead of the IBAN for transactions between banks and the ability to verify the validity of the recipient’s bank account before completing the transaction.”

Besides, Al-Akeel stated that any financial transaction of less than $5,333 (SR20,000) would be credited by the sarie scheme automatically to the recipient account. The system also offers the quick transfer service, which allows the banking sector’s clients to send payments of amounts less than $666 (SR2,500) without adding and activating the beneficiary upon activation by the account holder.

Al-Akeel has also mentioned that the system serves as an important milestone in developing payment systems in the Kingdom and as one of the most important indicators of the Kingdom’s advanced digital infrastructure, reveals its outstanding operational capabilities, especially for digital payment systems.

Similarly, the framework will enable banks and fintech companies, in particular, to build innovative financial services in line with the digital economy target set by the Kingdom as part of its national strategy for digital transformation.

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