Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has licensed Moyasar Financial Company, a payment fintech firm, to provide e-commerce payment services, bringing the total number of licensed payment companies to 16, in addition to nine which were granted an in-principle approval.
This follows the licensing of Waslah al-Daf, or Paylink, last month. As one of the largest Islamic financial markets in the world, it is understood that fintech companies in Saudi are required to comply with Shariah principles.
The approval of these new fintech players is part of SAMA’s strategy to support the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by attracting new value for investors and companies. In 2021, the share of electronic retail payments in Saudi exceeded 57% of total transactions, outperforming the 55% target set out by the Financial Sector Development Program, one of the main pillars of Saudi Vision 2030.
The central bank has over the last few years been working on promoting an electronic infrastructure in the Kingdom, expanding electronic payments and accelerating the e-transformation of transactions to reduce the cash-rich nation’s reliance on cash. The goal is to increase the rate of electronic payments to 70% by 2025.
SAMA’s efforts seem to be paying off. In 2021, electronic payments in the corporate sector jumped 65% to account for 84% of total payment transactions. According to SAMA, major corporations conduct 99.6% of their deals using electronic means last year; it was 78% for SMEs and 76% for micro enterprises.
Point-of-sale (PoS) terminals hit the one million milestone, up from 721,000 deployed in 2020 while contactless payments commanded 95% of all PoS transactions in 2021.