Saudi electronic payment system ‘mada’ excels in use of Apple Pay

Updated 31 May 2019
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Saudi electronic payment system ‘mada’ excels in use of Apple Pay

  • Saudi Arabia is the first in the world to have Apple Pay services provided through a national payment scheme

RIYADH: Mada, the new identity of the Saudi Payment Network, is making great progress in the integration and use of Apple Pay, experts say.

Apple Pay was launched in the Kingdom in February, and the country is the first in the world to have its services provided through a national payment scheme.

Mada has made it easier for local banks to use Apple Pay by providing the necessary infrastructure, according to economist Talat Zaki Hafiz. “From the moment the service was launched, customer desire to use it has increased daily, and the service is supported by 92 percent of Point of Sale devices in retail outlets in the Kingdom,” he told Arab News.

“Undoubtedly the economic impact of using e-payment benefits the customer. Payment is quick and efficient, and it allows the customer to avoid carrying cash.

“The cost of printing money to any government varies from 1 to 3 percent of gross domestic product, so by moving to digital electronic payments, we will reduce costs. Moreover, the more we excel in the e-payment sector, the better for the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” Hafiz said.

He added that the government was aiming to move from a cash-based society to a non-cash based society as part of Vision 2030, seeking to increase the percentage of e-payments from 18 percent of total transactions in 2016 to 28 percent by 2020, with the grand goal of 70 percent by 2030.

This will result in people having less cash in their pockets, which will help facilitate commerce, track money more easily, combat fraud, theft, corruption and loss, and be good for the environment. 

Apple Pay is an e-payment system built using near-field communication techniques.


Saudi Energy Minister calls for collective effort to secure shipping lanes

Updated 3 min 43 sec ago
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Saudi Energy Minister calls for collective effort to secure shipping lanes

  • Khalid Al-Falih: Saudi Arabia will do best to ensure the safety of shipping lanes
  • He expects OPEC members and other oil producers to meet soon to discuss an extension to oil supply cuts

TOKYO: Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday that countries need to cooperate on keeping shipping lanes open for oil and other energy supplies after last week’s tanker attacks in the Middle East to ensure stable supplies.

While he did not outline any concrete steps after the attacks that damaged two tankers on June 13, Falih said the kingdom would do everything necessary to ensure safe passage of energy from Saudi Arabia and its allies in the region.

“We’ll protect our own infrastructure, our own territories and we are doing that despite the attempts to target some of our facilities,” Falih told reporters in Tokyo.

“But sea lanes of global trade need to be protected collectively by other powers as well. We believe that’s happening, but we need to make sure the rest of the world pays attention,” he said after a Japan-Saudi investment conference.

Falih expects the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers including Russia to meet the week after the G20 summit to be held in Osaka on June 28-29, to discuss an extension of a supply output cut agreement.

OPEC and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The pact ends this month and the group meets in coming weeks to decide their next move.

Falih said that OPEC was moving was toward a consensus on extending the agreement.

He said earlier this month that OPEC was close to agreeing to extend a pact on cutting oil supplies beyond June, although more talks were still needed with non-OPEC countries.

When asked if Russia is going to agree to continue the cuts, Falih said “absolutely.”

“We are maintaining the proper levels of supply that we have been having to bring inventory levels to where they belong. I hope that will continue in the second half with the assurances I have received from all the OPEC+ countries,” he said.

There was full commitment to put in place “a long term framework between the OPEC+ coalition to ensure that we work together” from next year, he said.

Oil demand growth has held up despite trade disputes roiling global markets, Falih said, adding he expects worldwide demand to be above 100 million barrels per day this year.

“We are not seeing a slowdown from either China, the US, India or other developed economies,” Falih said.

“The impact has been more on the sentiment side and fear, rather than actual impact,” he said.