Saudi banks, after having a successful trial phase that included 70,000 transactions, have markedly gone live on Sunday; with a 24/7 electronic payment system that allows financial institutions; companies, and individuals to transfer money instantly.
Many banks and financial institutions in the kingdom have prepared their e-platforms and smartphone applications; for adding the service and allowing banking clients; in order to send and receive low-value domestic transactions around the clock for a low fee.
Additionally, the system also offers transfers using the mobile number; as an identifier instead of the IBAN for transactions between banks and verifying the recipient's bank account's validity; before completing the transaction.
The new service is a leap forward in strengthening the Kingdom's position; as one of the advanced countries in banking and financial technology services.
National payment systems are markedly fundamental in strengthening the Kingdom's pioneering position in the financial sector.
They also 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.
"The kingdom seeks to develop technical services in payments to keep pace with advanced cash shifts to contribute; to the progress of Saudi centers internationally in this field," Saudi Economic Association member Ahmed al-Jubeir told Asharq Al-Awsat.
"Continuous development and facilitation of services with reduced fees revitalizes the market and raises the demand for service," he added, confirming that the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) is actively working on improving financial products in the kingdom.
According to SAMA, the instant payment system will increase the transparency in payments between companies and individuals, activating innovation in financial services, as well as upgrading services provided to beneficiaries.
The system further increases the effectiveness of financial transactions among all parties in the corporate and retail sectors and enables banking institutions and financial technology companies to improve financial products and manage cash flows in businesses.
SAMA emphasized that the system works seamlessly between Saudi banks and financial technology companies, and it helps reduce operational costs and provide innovative solutions to the financial sector.
More so, SAMA will supervise the new system which, it says, will achieve the Saudi Vision 2030 objective in making the Kingdom less dependent on cash.