RIYADH: The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) mobile wallet app STC Pay has partnered with French technology provider Thales to introduce contactless cards into the Kingdom.
This will enable payments at point of sales (POS) machines, e-commerce transactions and cash withdrawals at local and international ATMs.
The digitized and fully customizable cards are compatible with Apple Pay and Mada Pay, providing secure payments for both iPhone and Android users. STC Pay customers will be able to order the card, activate, deactivate and set spending limits through their mobile application.
Ahmed Alenazi, STC Pay CEO, said that the cards would provide customers with digital payment solutions that were fast, convenient and, above all, secure.
“As the Kingdom progresses toward a cashless society, we are always looking for ways to provide new and innovative technologies and digital experiences to our customers,” he said.
Pascal Lesaulnier, CEO Thales Saudi Arabia, highlighted how the coronavirus pandemic had led to increased concern about the use of cash, and how the transformation to a contactless, cashless society had been “naturally accelerated.”
“It is only through the creation of novel, secure solutions, that we can build a future we can trust. We are very proud of the fruitful partnership developed over the years with STC Pay and we remain fully committed to supporting innovation in the Kingdom in line with Vision 2030. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of smart cities, and STC Pay plays a key role in this remarkable journey,” he said.
Under the umbrella of Vision 2030, the Kingdom has set an ambitious target of achieving 70 percent non-cash transactions by 2030. Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) regulations have been supporting local banks to move toward contactless cards and mobile payment, which has led to an increase in demand for secure contactless solutions.
Digital payment transactions in the Kingdom jumped by 75 percent in 2020 as Saudi consumers embraced online shopping during the pandemic, while cash withdrawals from ATMs and other payment points fell 30 percent over the same period.
Additionally, as consumers turned to online and digital non-contact payments during the pandemic, the number of cash withdrawals carried out in 2020 across the Kingdom dropped by more than 318 million, or about 30 percent year-on-year.
STC Pay was launched in 2015, while Thales has had a presence in the Kingdom for more than 50 years, providing solutions, services and products in aeronautics, defense, space, transportation, and digital identity and security.