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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Payment Market Overview

Saudi Arabia, with its 33.6 million inhabitants, has the third largest population in the Middle East after Iran and Iraq. It also has the second largest internet user population that reaches 24.1 million (Internet World Stats), with a penetration rate well above the regional average at 72% (as opposed to 57.8%). Moreover, Saudi internet users account for 16.4% of total digitally connected populations in the Middle East.

The Saudi e-commerce market has enjoyed steady growth in recent years, with turnover increasing by 11% on average, according to the Ecommerce Foundation. Total e-commerce revenue across all product categories was US$ 7.26 billion last year, and is expected to grow to US$ 9.41 billion by 2021. Overall, 19% of male and 27% female Internet users are considered 'heavy buyers', purchasing online at least once every two weeks. That rate is particularly significant among those under 30, as 29% of all internet users in that age group shop online at least once every two weeks.

Payment Methods in Saudi Arabia

Key Market Indicators in Saudi Arabia

$9,410,000,000
Online shopping market value
72%
Internet penetration
11%
Annual market growth
$618
Avg annual online spend

Banks in Saudi Arabia

National Commercial Bank
Al Rajhi Banking Corporation
Samba
Riyadh Bank
Banque Saudi Fransi
Saudi British Bank
Arab National Bank
Alawwal Bank
Alinma Bank

Mobile Carriers in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Telecom Company
Zain
Mobily

Integrate Saudi Arabian Payment Methods

Debit cards is the dominant payment method when shopping online in Saudi Arabia, used for 64 percent of online transactions. The use of credit cards remains low in Saudi Arabia for religious reasons, as Islam forbids the receipt or payment of interest. To combat this and infuse credit card penetration in the country, banks have started to offer a wider range of Sharia-compliant credit cards. Almost all leading credit card issuers in the country now offer Sharia-compliant credit cards.

Although the use of payment cards is on rise, they are mostly used for cash withdrawals at ATMs rather than making payments at merchant outlets. Contactless technology is slowly being adopted in Saudi Arabia, aided by government initiatives. In September 2015 Riyad Bank launched the country’s first contactless cards, and took the initiative to transform its entire card portfolio to contactless technology.

Country Statistics
Region MENA
Population 33.6 million
E-commerce market size $9,41 billion
Local currency SAR
Key Metrics
Internet penetration rate 72%
Internet cost $84/month
Mobile penetration rate 59.42%
Cellular technology standard 4G, 5G
Dual sim usage 41.71%
Popular mobile OS Android
Other Information
Big Mac Index 2.40
Average annual income $54,100
Largest Cities in Saudi Arabia by Population
Riyadh 4,205,961
Jeddah 2,867,446
Mecca 1,323,624
Medina 1,300,000
Sulţānah 946,697
Dammam 768,602
Ta’if 530,848
Tabuk 455,450

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