RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has been one of the leading countries in contactless payments, with a penetration rate of 94 percent of all digital transactions as compared to 70 percent in other developed countries, Maria Madvedeva, vice president at Mastercard Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, told Arab News.
“The percentage of Saudi youth willing to experiment with new methods (of payments) is about 69 percent. But the rest of the world is at 60 percent. The desire to really look at new solutions is extreme here in the Kingdom,” she told Arab News during the Global AI Summit in Riyadh.
Madvedeva is betting on the Saudi fintech ecosystem to continue to expand rapidly, and believes that Mastercard will grow with it.
“As we have seen opening up of Open Banking, as we’ll see opening up of buy now, pay later and Central Bank Digital Currency technologies, we will continue to invest and grow together with the country in those areas,” she said.
She added: “We have so many opportunities to convert cash, and look into digitizing over different cash aspects in government, commercial, business, and also in the personal space.”
As the rise of buy now, pay later options is increasing within the Kingdom, Madvedeva believes that installment payment options will be the future of Saudi consumer buying, adding that Mastercard will play a huge role in enabling that technology in the Kingdom.
Mastercard has also signed a three-year partnership with Saudi Esports Federation as an official sponsor to one of the largest gaming events in the world, Gamers8.
Madvedeva said that the partnership aims to promote digital payment acceptance within the gamers’ community in the Kingdom.
“Our agreement is creating the payment hub with the Saudi Esports Federation that would take gamers beyond physical cards, and into the world of the Metaverse and virtual reality space,” she explained.
The company has also launched Mastercard Ventures that aims to drive the adoption of virtual reality and the Metaverse in the Kingdom.
Mastercard has recently acquired a minority stake in Saudi-based fintech company, HyperPay, to fuel digital payments between merchants. “HyperPay has been a cornerstone of us being embedded into the Saudi ecosystem,” Madvedeva said.
Moreover, she stated that the company has made an investment into Network International in Saudi Arabia. Network International is part of the Saudi Fintech Hub Sandbox and it is working closely with Mastercard to drive new payment methods in the Kingdom.