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Saudi rolls out online payment service

Saudi rolls out online payment service

Holders of Mada cards will be able to make digital purchases from early April

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) will allow banks operating in the kingdom to offer online payment and purchase service to holders of cards under the Saudi Payment Network from next month.

The Mada debit card system comes under the kingdom’s digital payment strategy designed to reduce consumer reliance on cash transactions.

There are an estimated 29 million Mada cards in circulation, more than any other bank card type in the region, according to the announcement.

The Saudi Payment Network previously announced the imminent availability of online payments at the start of the year.

“Our objectives in the Mada National Payment System are to maintain the progress and development of our payment systems with the direct support of our member banks and payment system partners, and to provide advanced electronic payment services,” said director general of payments systems administration at SAMA, Ziyad Al-Yusuf.

Users will receive a text message related to completed payments and have the option of cancelling transactions through electronic channels or their bank.

After the early April activation of the service, SAMA expects online shopping sites to offer the payment method in the next three months.

Payment service firm PayFort, part of Amazon-owned Souq.com, registered a Saudi entity last month to cash in on an electronic payment market it estimates conducted $8.3bn of transactions in 2016.

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