Saudi Central Bank launches an instant payment system
By Edil Corneille
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has launched an instant payment system called ‘sarie’. His Excellency Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak highlighted the utility of the new instant payment system in empowering the national infrastructure for digital payments, tracking the growth the Kingdom’s payment sector has been undergoing for over thirty years.
H.E. stated, “The launching of sarie system comes as part of a series of SAMA-led initiatives to promote the national payments’ ecosystem and to enhance its infrastructure, aiming to achieve financial inclusion. National payment systems are fundamental in strengthening the Kingdom’s pioneering position in the financial sector. They offer secure and innovative payment solutions, meet the needs of various segments of the economy, and increase the effectiveness of the liquidity circulation in the financial system, through reducing the operational costs of cash handling, facilitating sending and receiving payments, and driving the digital transformation in the Kingdom by increasing the volume of digital financial transactions.”
Saudi Payments’ Managing Director Fahd Al-Akeel said, “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.”
Al-Akeel added, “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 Saudi 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.”
Furthermore, Al-Akeel indicated that any financial transaction of less than SAR 20,000 will be instantly credited to the recipient account by the sarie system. The system also offers the quick transfer service, which, upon activation by the account holder, allows the banking sector’s clients to send payments of amounts less than SAR 2,500 without adding and activating the beneficiary.
The system is expected to enable banks and FinTech companies, in particular, to develop innovative financial services that align with the requirements of the digital economy goal adopted by the Kingdom as part of its nationwide digital transformation strategy.
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