Visa announced it is working with mada, Saudi Arabia’s national payment system, to build a new mobile app which will be the first in the country to support contactless payments.

Visa said the Android-based mada Pay app will support Visa and mada co-badged cards, as well as Visa credit and prepaid cards. The app will work across NFC-enabled merchants in Saudi Arabia and abroad.

A security feature will see users’ card data replaced with a custom token, which will be submitted in place of the card number during transactions to protect the user’s account information.

Ziad Al Yousef, general manager of the General Department of Payments Systems at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, said in a statement the launch represents an “important step forward” in the government’s plan to realise its Vision 2030 economic transformation initiative.

Ali Bailoun (pictured), Visa’s general manager for Saudi Arabia, explained a recent study commissioned by the company concluded increased usage of digital payments could produce a net benefit of SAR25.12 billion ($6.7 billion) each year in the Saudi capital of Riyadh by spurring increased economic activity and job creation.