Visa and Saudi Payments rollout Tap to Phone in the Kingdom to support local small businesses


Tap to Phone is an innovative and cost-effective digital payment acceptance solution that enables small and micro businesses (SMBs) to participate in Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation journey 

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: In another achievement confirming Saudi Arabia’s steady progress towards digital transformation and as part of its efforts to support small businesses across the Kingdom, Saudi Payments, owned by the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has partnered with the world’s leader in digital payments, Visa, to launch an innovative, low-cost mobile acceptance solution. The new ‘Tap to Phone’ solution will operate through mada, Saudi Arabia’s innovative national payments network, to enable merchants, particularly small and micro businesses (SMBs) in Saudi Arabia, to accept contactless payments via their smartphone devices using Near-Field-Communication (NFC) technology without having to invest in a separate physical device.

The launch of Tap to Phone in Saudi Arabia is a leap forward for the Kingdom’s payments industry and is in line with Saudi Vision 2030’s goal of creating a society less dependent on cash. The new acceptance solution serves the strategy of the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) and its subsidiary, Saudi Payments, to introduce new innovative financial technology solutions that would serve all segments of the society and increase financial inclusion.

Fahad Al-Akeel, Saudi Payments Managing Director , said, “We are pleased to be partnering with Visa to bring this solution to market at a relevant time when Saudi consumers increasingly expect and desire to use digital payments wherever they shop, and when many businesses need to go digital to respond to changing consumer behavior. Simultaneously, this step enhances the Kingdom’s financial technology capabilities and is congruent with Saudi Vision 2030’s nation-wide drive for digitalization, which in turn would underpin the transition to a digital economy and foster investments in innovative payment solutions to support smaller businesses and improve consumers’ access to quality financial services all around the Kingdom. With further penetration of contactless payments, we are confident that demand for secure and convenient digital payments through Tap to Phone technology will continue and even accelerate post-COVID -19.”

Ali Bailoun, Visa’s General Manager for Saudi Arabia, said: “The pandemic has made it critical for all businesses to expand their payment methods beyond cash, as consumers expect and prefer secure and seamless cashless payment methods wherever they shop. But even as the majority of merchants in Saudi Arabia recognize the importance of digital acceptance, more than half (53%) of merchants recently surveyed in our Small Business Recovery study showed keen interest in low-cost acceptance solutions. And that’s where a cost-effective tool like Visa Tap to Phone comes in, helping businesses go digital quickly, avoid lost sales and improve cash flow by accepting contactless payments anywhere, anytime while improving the customer experience. Customers win too, as they can make payments in seconds by simply tapping their contactless card or phone to the merchant’s Tap to Phone-enabled smartphone. We are excited to partner with Saudi Payments to bring this innovative digital payment solution to merchants in Saudi Arabia and help accelerate the Kingdom’s digital transformation goals.”

For merchants, the key advantage of Visa Tap to Phone over traditional Point of Sale (POS) machines is that the innovative technology requires no additional hardware or extra cost. The business owner simply downloads a Tap to Phone app from their acquirer and once registered, can begin accepting contactless payments within minutes. Additional benefits for merchants include the ability to view transactions and payment history. Customers can also receive e- receipts to track their purchases. In addition, Tap to Phone’s sophisticated software terminal inside the smartphone generates a dynamic cryptogram for each transaction – making a Visa card payment as easy, fast and convenient as ever, and giving everyone involved the peace of mind that their data is secure.

About Visa Inc.:

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce.

About Saudi Payments:

Saudi Payments was established in 2019 in accordance with the Council of Ministers Resolution, and its establishment comes as a continuation of the work of the General Administration of Payment Systems at the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Payments operates and develops all major national payment systems. Since its establishment, it has played a vital role in enabling the public and private sectors to connect with domestic and international payment services, helping to develop the Kingdom’s payment infrastructure. Saudi Payments provides fast, flexible, and safe electronic payment services at low cost, through mada, sarie, Sadad and Esal systems, enhancing the national electronic payment infrastructure and reducing cash transactions. Saudi Payments supports the government’s Financial Sector Development Program, a part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 Program. Saudi Payments operates in line with international standards, connecting local and international service providers with payment networks, and reducing the need for cash payments.