Payments Innovation

Saudi Arabia Makes Digital Push To Lessen Cash Reliance

Saudi Arabia Makes Digital Push To Lessen Cash Reliance

Saudi Payments, a state-owned payments apparatus, has partnered with stc pay, another Saudi Arabia payments company, to grow the breadth of its mobile wallet, and potentially partner on future digital projects, according to a reportstc pay, a Saudi Telecom Company subsidiary, said the deal would allow it to team up with a number of financial and technology driven enterprises, as well as help the country as a whole to lessen its reliance on cash.

Ahmed Alenazi, CEO of st pay, said that the move would help financial organizations in the country to provide citizens with more services that would strengthen the economy, and allow the government to expand financial inclusion.

Saudi Arabia’s payments infrastructure is handled by Saudi Payments, which will help unify operability throughout both digital and more traditional providers. The company is owned by the monetary authority, and one of its main goals is to popularize the use of electronic payments.

“Through this agreement, we aspire to raise the diversity level in services and solutions for all service providers and beneficiaries in order to achieve the maximum benefit from the unified infrastructure services provided by Saudi Payments,” said Saudi Payments CEO Ziad Al Yousef.

In other Saudi Arabia news, STV — one of the country’s largest venture capital firms — has hired Ivan Jakovljevic, a former Google employee, with the goal of boosting an in-country startup into a unicorn. Jakovljevic will work as a chief development officer, and begin in March. He used to work for new markets at Google in North Africa and the Middle East.

STV is known for backing Careem, a ride-hailing service in the region that was eventually sold to Uber. Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, STV’s CEO and a former Google employee as well, said that Saudi startups are facing an important time, and that a few of them could potentially become unicorns.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.