The Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), Dr. Ahmed bin Abdulkarim al-Kholifey, thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense for the cabinet approval of SAMA request to establish Saudi Payments Company in the ministers council meeting on 2019/11/05 corresponding to 08/03/1441H,
Al Kholifey explained that the establishment of a national payments company comes in line with SAMA’s strategy to transform into a less cash-based society. It also aims at increasing financial inclusion through the organization and development of the payments sector and the establishment of an independent entity. This is in order to enable the system to provide safe and reliable basic services to achieve compatibility by providing common infrastructure to ensure competitiveness among payment service providers in line with the objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program, one of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 programs.
The establishment of the payment company is in accordance with international best practices, which usually entrust the preparation and operation of payment infrastructure services to national companies. Whereas central banks contribute in the establishment these infrastructure with the aim of linking local and international payment service providers from licensed banks and companies with payment networks and systems. In addition, this should contribute to the developing of technical and operational specifications that enable all providers to work in full compatibility to promote innovation.
It is worth mentioning that the payments sector in the Kingdom has witnessed remarkable developments during the past 30 years. SAMA has constantly worked with the financial sector to develop national payment systems in accordance with the latest technical standards and international best practices. SAMA worked as well within the Financial Sector Development program on several initiatives aimed at accelerating innovation and developing the sector. This is including the establishment of the legislative environment Regulatory Sandbox to enable startups and entrepreneurs to experience their services within a pilot framework with specific controls. In addition, SAMA worked restlessly on launching the Saudi Fintech initiative, which aims to support the growth of financial technology as an important sector to promote the digital transformation in the financial services sector.