Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 14 April 2020 — Visa (NYSE: V) today announced it welcomes the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority’s (SAMA) move to increase the Card Verification Method (CVM) limit for contactless transactions in Saudi to SAR300 (from SAR100). The 200% increase in the PIN-free transaction limit will allow consumers to simply tap-to-pay using their card, mobile phone or contactless wearable device for larger purchases. Visa is working closely with local bank partners and merchants to implement the new limit on Visa contactless cards in Saudi, which is in line with SAMA’s efforts to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
This move is in line with similar changes in the Middle East and North Africa region where Visa has been working with local governments to help increase the limits to support the growing appetite for contactless payments.
Contactless technology provides the fastest, most convenient and highly secure way to pay for both consumers and merchants, enabling simple ‘tap’ payments. According to a 2019 Visa-SAMA study , about 87% of people in Saudi who already use contactless payment technology trust this payment method. With more than 82% of transactions in Saudi Arabia already made with contactless, the increase will continue to improve consumers’ shopping experience and reinforce their trust in the technology.
“Today, with more consumers and merchants relying on contactless technology to pay and be paid, the new PIN-free limit is a positive move by SAMA. It will allow larger everyday purchases to be made using this fast, easy and secure way to pay, and will even further support merchants and front-line staff working during these challenging times,” said Ali Bailoun, Visa’s General Manager in Saudi Arabia. “Visa is working with our local bank and merchant partners to implement the new central bank-mandated limits for Visa cardholders that will facilitate the continued growth of highly secure and convenient contactless technology in Saudi. We remain committed to driving innovation and offering consumers and merchants the best way to pay and will continue to work closely with our partner banks in driving initiatives that benefit cardholders shopping from home during this time.”
In addition to convenience, contactless cards using Visa Easy Payment Service experience some of the lowest fraud rates of any type of payment, and fraud rates at point-of-sale remain at historic lows in countries where contactless payments are widely used. Contactless cards use the same dynamic EMV® Chip security as contact chip, and each transaction includes a unique one-time code, ensuring stolen information cannot be used to create counterfeit cards.
Visa has been actively working with governments across the Middle East in enabling the growth in contactless usage. Central banks in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Egypt have increased the limits on contactless transactions before a PIN is required, effectively extending the speed and convenience of contactless to larger purchases.