The Covid-19 pandemic, together with the Financial Sector Development Program included in Saudi Vision 2030, affected the banking and payment processing industries and led to a wave of digitization that aims to increase cashless transactions.
According to data from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), in the first three months of 2022, 13 bank branches and 81 ATMs were closed in a further sign of the growing digitization of the sector.
The statistics from SAMA show that the number of bank branches declined by 124 — 6 percent of the total — between 2017 and 2021.
ATMs saw a ten percent drop over the same period.
On the other hand, Point of Sale transactions increased 5.8 percent in terms of sales value in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the final three months of 2021.
The value of sales using mobile phones grew 13.6 percent over the same period, compared to a 3.6 percent growth for cards.
E-commerce sales using Mada cards rose 14 percent in the first quarter of this year.
The quarter-on-quarter rise is in line with the trend over the last four years, which has seen the total value of POS transactions and e-commerce increase by 120 percent and 380 percent, respectively.