RIYADH: Global digital payment firm Visa has said that Saudi Arabia’s contactless payment adoption has seen the fastest growth in the world.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 6th edition of Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh, Visa's regional president Andrew Torre, told Arab News that the Kingdom saw the highest digital payment growth curves in the world.
“In 2017, only 4 percent of all face-to-face transactions were contactless. If you fast forward to the end of 2021, it was the highest adoption curve in the world. We've seen it go from 4 percent to 97 percent,” Torre told Arab News.
He added that contactless transactions were not just made with physical cards, but also through mobile phones, as he noted the huge shift in the Kingdom’s financial technology sector.
“This is certainly a very fast growth market. It's probably one of the fastest growing markets in the world and in the Middle East,” Torre said.
Contactless payments are transactions made by tapping either a contactless chip card or payment-enabled mobile or wearable device over a contactless-enabled payment terminal.
Torre further added that 60 percent of all payments made in the Kingdom were digital.
The company has been pushing out many initiatives to support Saudi Arabia’s financial technology sector. During the forum it announced the launch of its Global Innovation Center in the Kingdom.
The innovation hub is set to open by the end of 2023 in Riyadh, as the company aims to provide its partners with cutting-edge financial technology to bolster the creation of domestic solutions.
Torre stated that the innovation center aims to make $40 billion in remittances sent abroad from Saudi Arabia faster, cheaper and near real-time.
“We will bring fintechs here and partners and clients here to be able to not only innovate in the Kingdom but also innovate outside of the Kingdom as well and grow their businesses across the MENA region,” he added.
The company has also been supporting female entrepreneurs with the launch of its 'She’s Next’ initiative earlier this year.
Torre explained that the initiative provided around 20 female entrepreneurs with financing, expertise and knowledge on growing their businesses in multiple fields besides fintech.
The company works with many private and public institutions, as it aims to focus more on the rise of entrepreneurship and startups in the Kingdom.