First Contactless Debit Card Hits the Saudi Market

June 16, 2015, Written By Bill Hardekopf
RIYADH - DECEMBER 22: Kingdom tower on December 22, 2009 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Kingdom tower is a business and convention center, shoping mall and one of the main landmarks of Riyadh city

Riyad Bank has taken a big step in the Middle East, becoming the first financial institution to release a contactless payment card in the Saudi market. Known as the Riyad Bank Debit MasterCard , this card marks a transition into modern technology for this region.

The new card will have unlimited global acceptance, since it is backed by MasterCard. Merchants in Saudi Arabia will still need to adapt to contactless payments, but cardholders can utilize this new technology at over 35 million locations worldwide.

The card works much like other NFC card used in the American and European markets. There is no need to swipe the card or insert it into the machine. Simply pass it over the terminal, and the payment is accepted – as long as it is less than SAR 75 ($20 USD). After the purchases reach a cumulative value of SAR 225 ($60 USD), the card will need to be inserted and used with a PIN. The bank has this block in place for security measures.

“Riyad Bank Contactless Debit Card works with embedded antenna when paying for low value purchases through POS terminals around the world, while merchants across Saudi Arabia will launch this service soon,” said Khaled Hariri, the bank’s senior vice president of products and services.

The new card also gives members access to VIP lounges at airports throughout the world, along with other “exclusive and exceptional offers” not described in detail at this time.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of June 16, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.