Finance & Capital Market

Saudi Central Bank launches instant payment system

The Saudi Central Bank (Sama) has launched the instant payment system “sarie” as part of a series of Sama-led initiatives to promote the national payments' ecosystem and to enhance its infrastructure.

Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak said that national payment systems are fundamental in strengthening the Kingdom's pioneering position in the financial sector, reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

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.

In his statement, Saudi Payments' Managing Director, Fahd Al-Akeel said that 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 that 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.

Al-Akeel indicated that any financial transaction of less than SR20,000 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.

Saudi Payments' Managing Director declared that the system serves as an essential milestone in the process of developing payment systems in the Kingdom, and as one of the most significant indicators of the Kingdom's advanced digital infrastructure, and reveals its outstanding operational capacity, especially with respect to digital payment systems.

Likewise, the system will 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.