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Saudi Telecom’s pay app to offer full banking service

STC Bank has grown out of Saudi Telecom's pay app, which has 12m customers Shutterstock
STC Bank has grown out of Saudi Telecom's pay app, which has 12m customers
  • STC Bank launches this year
  • Pay app has 12m customers
  • PIF owns majority of shares

State-owned Saudi Telecom’s pay app has received central bank approval to become a fully fledged digital bank. 

Part of the kingdom’s fintech expansion strategy, the new STC Bank will offer traditional and Sharia-compliant services fully aligned with the international banking system. 

The service will be available to a small test group in the coming months before a full launch later this year, according to a statement by the Saudi Press Agency. 

The Public Investment Fund owns 64 percent of STC shares, while 36 percent is traded on the Saudi stock market where it is one of the major blue chip companies. 

Since STC Pay was established in 2018 as Saudi Arabia’s first digital pay app, it has acquired 12 million customers, making it one of the region’s biggest online payment services. 

Electronic payments accounted for a record 70 percent of retail sector sales in 2023, rising from 62 percent the year before, the central bank said this week

The government is trying to boost financial services, including e-payments, as part of the Vision 2030 economic transformation plan. 

The central bank says the number of fintech businesses rose to over 200 in 2023 from 51 in 2021. 

Foodics, a cloud-based restaurant management and payment business, will be the first Saudi fintech to list on the stock exchange in an IPO planned for this year.

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