Saudi Digital Payments Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Telecom (STC), has launched STC Pay digital mobile wallet that will allow customers to transact a range of payments without the need of formal bank accounts.
STC also announced a partnership with Western Union to embed Western Union’s cross-border functionality into a new STC Pay led FinTech platform offering financial services locally and globally.
Western Union CEO and President Hikmet Ersek announced the proposed cooperation agreement paving the way for STC Pay Digital Mobile to go global, during his speech to the launch.
“This (partnership) would pave the way for millions of customers with or without bank accounts or credits cards to access a suite of international finance tools, all available at a click of a button,” said Ersek.
Ersek described Western Union as a connector, able to link even the smallest micro-communities to international corporations. “The best way to bring these services to new populations and modernise to meet the ever-changing desires of our customers is through collaboration with local entities and we are privileged to be at the table with STC Pay,” he added.
In 2017, there were 6.4 million unbanked adults in Saudi Arabia, out of a population of 21 million adults, according to the World Bank. Saudi Arabia is host to millions of international workers and is the world’s second largest remittance sending nation.
“The main aim of STC through STC Pay is to enable financial inclusion and limit cash usage,” said Nasser Al Nasser, CEO, Saudi Telecom Company.
“Under the proposed arrangement, STC Pay users can stay local and still enjoy the benefits of a global marketplace, thanks to a proposed integration with Western Union. They can shop local, receive money, or send money to friends and family nearly anywhere in the world. Once, such transactions were the privilege of customers with bank accounts but under the proposed agreement, they would be available at the touch of a button to anyone with a STC Pay mobile wallet,” he said.