Saudi Central Bank SAMA Permits Fintech Startups to Test Solutions via Regulatory Sandbox

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has reportedly permitted two new Fintech startups to test their innovative solutions in SAMA’s regulatory sandbox.

As noted in the update from SAMA, “Sulfah for Finance” is authorized to launch a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform and “Wadaie for FinTech” to launch a Time Deposit Aggregation platform.

According to a blog post, this step contributes “to the development of the Saudi FinTech sector and underscores SAMA’s commitment to promoting financial inclusion and innovation.”

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) emphasizes “the importance of dealing with licensed/or permitted financial institutions, and this can be verified by visiting the website.”

In another update shared this year, SAMA says that it “seeks public consultation on the draft Rules for Opening Electronic Wallets.”

In this context, SAMA invites stakeholders and public for their suggestions and observations on the draft by visiting the Public Consultation Platform “Istitlaa.”

These rules set the regulatory requirements “for licensed Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) when opening electronic wallets for customers.”

It is essential for institutions to adhere to these requirements “to protect market participants and support EMIs in providing services that contribute to enhancing the safety and stability of the sector.”

Suggestions and observations on the draft will be “received within (15) days from this announcement for assessing their relevance in finalizing the draft, which is available on the Public Consultation Platform with the National Competitiveness Center.”

It is worth mentioning the total number of licensed EMIs “to provide electronic wallets is 11 institutions, and the total number of electronic wallets is more than 21 million wallets in the Kingdom.”

As reported in May 2024, ​SAMA launched “Account Finder” service for retail customers across local banks on Thursday, May 9, 2024.

The new service enables customers “to verify ownership of their personal accounts at local banks through digital banking.”

The service will contribute to “enhancing reliability and reducing risks of suspicious transactions, unauthorized use of accounts, and impersonation.”

This underscores the continuous commitment of “both SAMA and the banking sector to introduce value-added services and ensure security in e-banking transactions in line with international best practices.​​”

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