Fintech Middle East & Africa Paytech Trending

Visa Plans to Open new Innovation Centre in Saudi Arabia

Visa plans to open an ‘Innovation Centre’ for the payments and digital commerce industries in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

The digital payments leader plans for the facility to foster innovation in the digital payment solutions space. Visa’s current plans are for the centre to be open and fully operational by the end of 2023. The Innovation Centre is to enable Visa partners to access its payment technologies.

The centre aims to bring partners together to co-create local solutions for use in Saudi Arabia and eventually exported worldwide. The creative space has plans to feature virtual reality, biometrics and Internet-of-Things applications. Visa innovation and technology experts are to staff the facility.

Plans for the centre also include a specialist focus on developing innovations specifically for governments, financial institutions, fintechs and businesses. The focus will cover areas including data, disbursements, remittances and more.

Innovation Centre Andrew Torre
Andrew Torre, regional president, CEMEA region, Visa

Andrew Torre, Visa’s regional president for the CEMEA region, explained the digital payment leader’s decision to open the centre. He said: “The rapid acceleration of digital payments has helped establish the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a global leader in driving the future of commerce and money movement.

“We are excited to be able to deepen our investment in Saudi Arabia with an Innovation Center that will help push the boundaries of innovation and creativity further. We look forward to working with partners to develop next-generation solutions that will benefit individuals, businesses and governments in line with Saudi Vision 2030.”

Continuing to foster innovation

The plans for the new Innovation Centre in Saudi Arabia expand Visa’s global network of centres. The first of the centres opened in 2014 in San Francisco. Similar Visa facilities worldwide have created multi-currency products, facial payments, acceptance and pay-on-delivery solutions to enhance the digital commerce sector. These products were designed for use in central Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions.

Earlier this year, Visa introduced its global innovation program, the ‘Visa Everywhere Initiative’, to Saudi Arabia. The initiative opened to local fintech and payment startups to showcase innovative products and solutions. Winners of the competition received monetary prizes and opportunities to partner with Visa.

His Excellency Dr. Fahad Almubarak, governor of the Saudi Central Bank said: “The ambitious plan of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be among the top ten countries in the Global Competitiveness Index is one of the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

“Visa’s announcement today is indicative of the conducive environment that Saudi Arabia provides the global business community. We are happy to see that companies like Visa are committed to our economic transformation agenda and to [developing] local Saudi talents.

“Saudi Arabia is moving towards achieving its goals to become a less-cash society having reached 57 per cent cashless payment of all consumer payments in 2021. In the first half of 2022, payments executed using NFC technology exceeded 96 per cent of total POS transactions.”


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