The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has increased the purchase limit for Atheer contactless domestic debit card transactions from SAR 100 (US$26.61) to SAR 300 (US$79.84), in a bid to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus.
SAMA announced the plan on 18 March — and set a deadline of 20 March for the change to be fully rolled out.
“This step is in line with SAMA’s supervisory and regulatory role and its pursuit to implement the precautionary and preventive measures issued by the competent authorities to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19),” it explained.
“In addition, SAMA’s decision confirms its keenness to protect the safety of electronic payment users and to serve the public interest.”
“The total accumulative amount of Atheer transactions made at POS terminals will remain at SAR 300,” SAMA added.
“All banks, payments companies and financial institutions issuing all bank cards are also required to make the necessary adjustments to their technological systems and [to] get them ready to support the new purchase limit no later than March 20th, 2020.
“Moreover, SAMA has ordered all acquiring banks and licensed payment service providers to work promptly with the operational support team at the Saudi Payments to ensure that their POS terminals receive the necessary update.
“Further, all banks and payment service providers should update their related terms and conditions as of the date of this decision and immediately notify their clients.
“They should also communicate, through marketing representatives, the contents of the decision to all concerned parties, including clients and merchants, and inform them of the new developments and the desired goals, as per SAMA’s instructions.”