The Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA) approved two digital financial services companies to launch full e-wallet services, as part of the country’s attempts to promote a cut in the use of physical cash.

In a statement, the regulator said HalalaH and BayanPay had been approved for full commercial release after a successful periods in SAMA’s trial “sandbox” scheme. It doubles the number of approved providers to four.

The regulator said it “aimed to raise the level of effectiveness and flexibility of financial transactions, in addition to promoting innovation in the financial services”.

BayanPay chairman Fahad Al Fawaz added: “In line with Saudi Vision 2030, our digital solutions support the development and diversification of the economy by enhancing payment efficiencies for consumers, businesses and the government.”

The country’s 2030 societal goals include an aim to increase the number of non-cash payments made in its retail sector to 70 per cent. In July 2019 the figure was reported at 36 per cent.

Earlier this year, SAMA issued licences to STC wallet brand STC Pay and financial technology provider Geidea.