RiskTech Forum

Saudi Payments to Introduce National QR Code for Payments

Posted: 15 May 2019  |  Source: Finextra


Saudi Payments has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with twelve parties, including nine banks and three financial technology firms, to implement a QR-based national payment system that matches service providers’ demands, creates new opportunities, and facilitates payment services based on this technology.

The QR code technology has been widely implemented for payment solutions in international markets in recent years. It allows individuals to pay via smartphone applications using QR scan features.

During the MEFTECH 2019 conference that took place in Riyadh recently, his Excellency the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), Dr. Ahmed Alkholifey, announced that SAMA, represented by Saudi Payments, is working on unifying the technical and commercial standards for payments based on QR codes technology. A move that is intended to develop existing services and to facilitate the implementation of the technology via a platform that will be serving all stakeholders in the most efficient manner; i.e. e-wallet providers, merchants, and consumers.

By implementing this national platform, Saudi Payments aims to provide various payment solutions for retailers, payment service providers, and individual customers through a unified platform that enables all involved parties to interact effectively using one common and consistent standards.

Additionally, the unified QR code payment system will contribute to the development of the digital infrastructure for the financial system, and will be part of an integrated digital payment ecosystem that works based on the concept of an open loop payment environment. This means that retailors, payment service providers, and digital wallets users will be able to make payment transactions regardless of the relations among the involved parties. Saudi Arabia will be one of the pioneering countries offering such an ecosystem strengthening its position as a leading country in payments technologies in the Middle East.

It is noteworthy that the SAMA, represented by Saudi Payments, is responsible for the development and operation of the national payments infrastructure in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which includes as part of its services the national card scheme (mada). This new service will ensure the further development of the payments ecosystem to achieve the objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP)—one of which is to create a cashless society boosted with digital payment options.