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Saudi Central Bank: Electronic payments exceeded cash for first time in Saudi Arabia during 2021
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 14 - 08 - 2022

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) issued a report on the results of an extensive study conducted to measure used payment methods in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during 2021, which aimed to assess consumer payment habits (cash and non-cash), across all market sectors; individuals, business, and the government sector.
A key objective of the Financial Sector Development Program – under the Kingdom's Vision 2030 – is the promotion of digital payment solutions to transform the Kingdom into a less-cash society by reaching 70% non-cash payments by 2025.
The extensive study which covered the use of payment methods across the market, and gives detailed insights into the most used instruments, by whom and for which purchases.
The study showed that, across all user groups, the use of electronic payments exceeded the use of cash. In total, across all areas of economic activities, the use of electronic payments increased from 44% in 2019 to 62% of all payments by volume in 2021. These transactions represent 94% of all payments when measured by value.
The study indicated that - for the first time in the Kingdom - cash is no longer the most used method of payment by individuals, as electronic payments of individuals have grown significantly to reach 57% in 2021 of the total number of transactions executed, compared to just 36% in 2019.
In the business sector, the share of electronic payments reached a substantial 84% of all business payments in 2021, compared to 51% in 2019 (a growth of 65%over the two years). On the other hand, the study also revealed that the government sector has almost completely converted to electronic payment methods of all outward government payments to individuals, business establishments or other government agencies.
The Saudi Central Bank, through its main role in the financial sector development program, seeks to encourage use of the fastest and most efficient electronic payment methods, as an extension of SAMA efforts in the development of the national and international payments ecosystems, including new technical and operational infrastructure, regulatory and legislative adjustments and new payment services.
The Payments Usage study report is available on SAMA's website:
http://www.sama.gov.sa/en-US/Documents/National_Payments_Usage_Study_en.pdf


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