New e-payment system to cut costs, cash smuggling

Updated 27 January 2015

New e-payment system to cut costs, cash smuggling

Major modifications will be made to the Saudi Payment Network System (SPAN) in 2015 to increase efficiency and reduce costs for banks, merchants and consumers, and counter the smuggling of cash. It would eventually also allow for withdrawals at point-of-sale (POS) terminals, and getting money from ATMs without cards.
The new system, to be renamed Mada, will connect ATMs and POS terminals throughout the country to a central payment switch that in turn re-routes the financial transactions between banks of merchants and customers.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency is now testing the system. Sources indicate that it would create changes in consumer culture, including serving as an incentive to save by reducing the usage of cash, and encouraging greater spending via bank cards.
The new system will include additional services for customers, which will be implemented gradually over the coming years. These include the possibility of withdrawing from ATMs without a card, obtaining prepaid cards loaded with amounts as per clients’ request, facilitating electronic payments for purchasing tickets, and cash-back options from tellers and shops to reduce pressure on ATMs.
The system will also permit the transfer of funds to customers outside the Kingdom who carry the same type of cards, without the deduction of transfer fees. It will also allow transfers to accounts at other banks, and better verification of the income of businesses to impose fees or taxes more systematically.
Sources indicate the system will help reduce costs on banks and shops, given the significant amount of electronic trading, as well as facilitate buying, selling, and transfer of funds within and outside the Kingdom. There will be no limits on the number of times ATM cards can be used, and no usage, annual, or balance inquiry fees.


King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

Updated 21 November 2019

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

  • Saudi Arabia has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies, king says
  • Kingdom also welcomed US decision to return Iran's Fordow nuclear facility to its sanctions list

RIYADH: Iran should abandon its expansionist ideology that has only “harmed” its own people, Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Wednesday, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.

A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realizes there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practices, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shoura Council.

“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people.”

A satellite image from Sept. 15, 2017, of the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. (Google Earth)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed Washington's decision to return the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran to the sanctions list. 

Washington said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. 

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.