KSA shifts towards e-commerce and digital payments

RetailME Bureau

As KSA shifts towards e-commerce and digital payments, the Kingdom’s national payment infrastructure is supporting the accelerated transition towards a cashless society. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has seen a definite spike in consumers moving online to shop, particularly in the food and personal care segments and especially during the lockdown.

According to the Oxford Business Group (OBG) analysis, the Kingdom’s national payment infrastructure, which had already been strengthened before the pandemic took hold and played a pivotal role in easing the transition to online and mobile transactions.

Saudi Arabia’s decision to make ICT expansion a priority as part of broader economic diversification plans had paid dividends by providing the Kingdom with digital resilience when the pandemic struck, observed OBG CEO, Andrew Jeffreys. “Consumers and businesses in Saudi Arabia were not only encouraged to make the move online in recent months, but felt confident about doing so, thanks to prudent moves to regulate the digital payments space last year…Having successfully coped with increased demand for contactless and mobile payments at the height of lockdown, and with useful fiscal buffers in place, the country is well-positioned to move towards its long-term goal of creating a cashless society.”

OBG also shines a spotlight on the fintech segment, which is ripe for growth, buoyed by the efforts of the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA) to encourage its development and rising demand for innovative solutions.

As KSA shifts towards e-commerce and digital payments, Ziad Al Yousef, managing director, Saudi Payments, added that having laid the necessary regulatory groundwork in 2019, SAMA was able to swiftly introduce new measures early on in the coronavirus outbreak aimed at stimulating the broader economy and digital commerce in particular. “These actions, which included waiving all transaction fees on purchases made through POS terminals or e-commerce sites for six months, are now supporting social-distancing precautions while facilitating the consumption of goods and services post-lockdown.”

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