Press release

Vocalink and Saudi Payments to introduce real-time payments to Saudi Arabia

25 April 2019

  • Cutting-edge Mastercard technology will enable instant payments between financial institutions, businesses and consumers 
  • Speed of digital commerce will significantly increase, positively impacting the Saudi economy

Today we have announced that we have partnered with the Saudi Payments, a fully owned subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to launch real-time payments in the Kingdom. 

The milestone partnership will enable account-to-account payments to be made instantly between financial institutions, businesses and consumers, a market-first in the country. 

The new technology will positively impact the Kingdom’s economy by upgrading its payments infrastructure, significantly speeding up digital commerce and enabling newer fintechs and financial institutions to take advantage of the benefits of a digital economy. 

Ziad Bin Bandar Al-Yousef, Managing Director, Saudi Payments said: “Saudi Payments commitment to be key player in transforming the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into a cashless society is at the heart of our strategy and aligned with the kingdom's Vision 2030,as prescribed in the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP). We believe the Kingdoms’ consumers and businesses will benefit tremendously from leveraging the power of real-time payments and help the Kingdom to a smooth transition to the digital economy. Our partnership with Vocalink and IBM to enable instant payments between financial institutions, businesses and consumers will introduce innovative solutions that will benefit our society for generations. ”

J.K. Khalil, General Manager of Saudi Arabia & Bahrain, Mastercard said: 

“Real-time payments are transforming the financial services sector globally, showcasing tremendous potential in creating efficiencies across national economies and redefining the overall experience for users in Saudi. Our partnership with Saudi Payments will foster further innovation across the Kingdom. We see this is a significant step in enabling the Kingdom’s transition towards a more digital economy.”

For consumers and businesses, the new real-time payments platform will enable credit transfers, e-invoicing and billing, real-time payment acknowledgement, remittances and bulk payments instantly. The technology will also enable instant peer-to-peer money transfers between friends and family, simply from their smartphones and without the need of the recipient’s bank details. 

The revolutionary payment system will use technology that is built on the latest ISO messaging standards, fostering further innovation and integration across the globe.  It will reach the majority of financial institutions and accounts, working with Saudi Payments’ third-party services, supporting anti-fraud and compliance processes.

Our real-time payments technology was first implemented in the United Kingdom in 2008, where it has been highly successful and reliable for over a decade. It is also live in Singapore and in 2017, launched in Thailand where the PromptPay service has been adopted by over half of the population in just two years. Most recently, Vocalink was behind the transformative payments system launched in the US for The Clearing House’s RTP®. 


Ellie Lewis
Director, External Communications

Emma Harvey, Robyn Margetts
Seven Consultancy

About Vocalink  

A Mastercard company, Vocalink designs, builds and operates industry-leading bank account-based payment systems. Our technologies power the UK’s real-time payments, settlements and direct debit systems, as well as the UK’s network of nearly 60,000 ATMs. In 2018, we processed over 90 percent of salaries, more than 70 percent of household bills and almost all state benefits in the UK. 

For payments news and insights from Vocalink, visit