Electronic payments in the Saudi retail sector 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 in a statement.
SAMA Governor Fahad al-Mubarak said the central bank is working on promoting e-infrastructure, expanding e-payment activities and accelerating the e-transformation of transactions.
He explained that this recent achievement was driven by FSDP and the implementation of the bank’s strategic plans for the payments sector, mainly aiming to reduce dependency on cash and increase the rate of e-payments to 70% by 2025.
He further underlined the joint efforts between the government and the private sector to implement many payment digitization initiatives together with private sector innovation and expansion initiatives and open financial services to a new class of Fintech stakeholders in the Kingdom.
SAMA noted the rise 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 topped 5.1 billion during 2021, with a growth of 81% compared to 76% in 2020, the statement said.
It further observed a remarkable increase in PoS terminal numbers and commercial sector coverage, with more than a million PoS terminals deployed by the end of 2021 compared to 721,000 in 2020.
The bank also revealed a surge in the rate of contactless digital payments (NFC) methods, accounting for 95% of all PoS transactions in 2021, alongside other e-payment methods such as e-commerce payments, “SADAD” system payments and the new Instant Money Transfer through “Sarie” system and others.
Corporate payments in the business sector saw a significant increase in e-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 the past two years.
Results also showed that major corporations rely on e-payments to complete 99.6% of their transactions, while the same metric stood at 78% for SMEs and 76% for micro enterprises, SAMA noted.