Saudi Arabia is a country in the Middle East that is well-known due to its large oil reserves, rich Islamic history, and thriving modern cities. With more than 34 million inhabitants, it easily dominates the Arabian Peninsula.
Home to one of the world’s most influential cultures, Saudi Arabia has a long and illustrious history. Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities in Islam, are located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, drawing in millions of pilgrims annually. The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, is the second holiest place in Islam and is visited by millions of believers each year. For its historical significance and stunning design, the mosque is a must-see for visitors of all religions.
Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer tourists, including its rich history and a wide variety of modern attractions. With its Red Sea coast, the nation offers spectacular scenery, including sandy beaches and vibrant coral reefs ideal for scuba and snorkeling. As Saudi Arabia is becoming more accessible to tourists, it will be a top choice for those looking for off-the-beaten-path adventures and cultural immersion.
What’s more, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan has enacted major economic and social reforms in recent years in an effort to diversify the country’s economy along with the country’s touristic appeal and lessen its reliance on oil earnings. The administration has been supporting cashless payment options and working to expand the country’s digital economy as part of these changes.
The Available Payment Methods in Saudi Arabia
Cash, cheques, and credit cards are all still commonly used in this Middle Eastern country. Yet, the usage of online payment gateways like PayPal and mobile payment solutions like Jeton Wallet is increasing in popularity.
As an additional means of exchange, digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple are gaining traction in the country. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the country’s central bank, has warned citizens against using cryptocurrencies and announced that it is researching the possibility of their widespread adoption in the country.
To recap, Saudi Arabia’s economy and mode of payment are both fast developing. More improvements in the acceptance of cashless payment systems, including cryptocurrencies, are anticipated as the government continues to foster the expansion of its digital economy.
1. Using Cash
In Saudi Arabia, many residents still favour paying with cash for their day-to-day errands. Taxis, food delivery, and shopping at souks and other traditional marketplaces all rely heavily on cash transactions. This is in part because many local establishments lack the infrastructure to process credit card and debit card transactions. The ability to bargain and set one’s own price is also a cultural norm in Saudi Arabia, thus some individuals still choose to do business with cash.
2. The Use of Debit and Credit Cards
In recent years, the use of credit and debit cards in Saudi Arabia has grown substantially, especially in the country’s major cities like Riyadh and Jeddah. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are all widely accepted across the country, so visitors may shop without worrying about bringing along a lot of cash. Carrying cash is still advisable, though, because not all companies take credit and debit cards. Outside of big cities, credit and debit card use are far less frequent than cash in Saudi Arabia.
3. Paying Through Electronic Systems
The younger population in Saudi Arabia is particularly fond of using electronic payment methods. Payments may be made quickly and easily with a mobile wallet, such as Jeton Wallet, Apple Pay, or Google Wallet.
This is a preferred mode of payment for many customers, especially when shopping online or at bigger establishments that provide electronic payment options. The younger population in Saudi Arabia is becoming comfortable with electronic payment methods, and this trend is projected to continue as more companies implement the technology.
4. Direct Bank Transfers
Direct bank transfers are widely used as a form of payment in Saudi Arabia. This widely established method of payment facilitates quick and secure funds transfers between bank accounts. Larger purchases, like rent or bills, benefit greatly from the convenience of this mode of payment. Transferring money within a bank can be done either online or at a physical location. This service is offered by the majority of banks in Saudi Arabia and is a quick and easy method to send money to friends and family.
5. Prepaid Cards
Among the younger population in Saudi Arabia, prepaid cards are quickly becoming the payment option of choice. You may shop online or in-store with one of these cards. Prepaid cards are similar to debit cards in that they may be used to make purchases, but unlike debit cards, they do not require a bank account to function.
The card must be recharged with funds before further usage after the initial balance has been depleted. Young adults and teens who aren’t old enough for a credit card or who wish to control their spending are big fans of these cards. Prepaid cards, which may be purchased in a variety of Saudi Arabian businesses as well as online, are a useful alternative to carrying cash.
Cryptocurrencies are not yet widely recognised in Saudi Arabia as a mode of payment. There are currently no regulations in place from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) for dealing with cryptocurrency. There is a rising interest in cryptocurrencies in the nation, especially among young investors and tech-savvy residents, despite the lack of a regulatory framework. There are signs of life in the cryptocurrency exchange market, too, which bodes well for the future of cryptocurrency use in the country.
The absence of oversight over cryptocurrency transactions in Saudi Arabia is a potential issue. Cryptocurrency transactions, for instance, are notoriously hard to trace, which hampers government efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Furthermore, cryptocurrency investors who are not market experts may be vulnerable to the price volatility of cryptocurrencies. Yet, if cryptos gain popularity and regulatory frameworks are established, they may eventually overtake traditional currencies as the preferred method of payment in Saudi Arabia.
The payment system in Saudi Arabia is developing alongside the country’s expanding economy. Cash, credit cards, electronic payment systems, and bank transfers are just some of the options accessible to consumers and companies in the country today.
While cryptocurrency is not yet generally recognised as a payment mechanism in Saudi Arabia, there is a rising interest in these digital assets among young investors and computer aficionados. We may see more widespread use of cryptocurrencies as the government continues to update its monetary system.