In the MPartners conference in Toronto Chris Hogg was talking about a tremendous payroll card oportunity in Saudi Arabia with SAMA.


A press release from



Press Release

Issuance of Pre-payment Services Rules in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


In pursuance of its functions under the Banking Control Law issued by Royal Decree No. M/5 dated 22/2/1386H, SAMA issued "Pre-payment Services Rules in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", which set the regulatory framework for pre-payment services in the Kingdom.

The launch of these rules is in line with SAMA’s plan aimed at spreading e-banking services and provide new tools for new sectors of beneficiaries. Local banks are expected to provide interested customers with pre-payment service. To this end, a bank account would be opened where a client deposits a cash amount and gets an electronic cash card linked to this account to be used in purchasing goods and services through POS terminals, as well as in cash withdrawal or balance inquiry through ATMs, in addition to executing a number of services through telephone banking and the Internet. It can also be used to pay public utility bills through SADAD. The new service offers the customer high flexibility in managing his bank account balance, such as distributing the balance on more than one card, with control limits of withdrawal for each card, and determining the scope of use of the card locally and internationally. There are various types of cards that can be issued under this service, such as payroll cards, family cards, student cards and visitors’ cards. These accounts differ from current accounts as being fully electronic, with real-time procedures, and are designed to facilitate electronic withdrawals and payments.

These products will provide high flexibility to customers in various areas, for example:

1- Making it easier for companies and businesses to transfer salaries of their employees to their bank accounts opened according to these rules. Then, the beneficiaries may use the cards to withdraw cash, shop, pay bills, or transfer money.

2- Enabling students to obtain cards linked to their educational institutions, that would, in turn, provide easier access to educational benefits and using the cards for withdrawing cash or shopping.

3- Providing tools for the head of the household that would facilitate management of his/her expenses by creating sub-accounts linked to his/her account and issuing a card for each account, so that he or she would be able to transfer money to these accounts for use by family members.

At the first stage, emphasis will be placed on the open-use cards accepted at all ATMs and points of sale. At a later stage, the service would be restricted (allowing the use of cards with a particular - private or public – entity, e.g. public transport cards and commercial shop cards) and then providing a specific service (limiting the use of some of the cards in specific sectors such as, fuel station cards).

The issuance of these rules is in keeping with an integrated strategy aiming at the development of payment systems in the Kingdom, encouraging the banking sector to provide new and innovative banking services and products in the domestic market to meet the needs of all categories of people, and apart from reducing the use of cash, especially in the retail sector, and replacing it with electronic transactions through various electronic channels, in addition to making banking services accessible to everyone. It should be noted that these rules in the field of prepaid services are considered the first at the banking sector level in the region.