JCB in pact with Riyad Bank to expand in Saudi Arabia

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JCB International has entered an acquiring partnership with Riyad Bank to enable acceptance of JCB cards at merchant terminals and ATMs throughout Saudi Arabia.

The agreement with Tokyo-based JCB gives the national Saudi Vision 2030 financial inclusion and cashless society a push as a way to increase cardholders in Islamic markets like Bangladesh, Bahrain, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

"I am delighted to announce this partnership in consideration of the Vision 2030 and the ever-closer relationship between Saudi Arabia and Japan," Yoshiki Kaneko, JCB's president and chief operating officer, said in a Monday press release. "Along with the introduction of the tourist visa program last year, which offers visas to citizens of 49 countries, a larger number of JCB cardholders is expected to visit Saudi Arabia on top of our Muslim cardholders in Asia."

JCB sees Saudi Arabia as a prime market for expanding Middle East business, Kaneko said. "I am certain this partnership will benefit both our cardholders and Riyad Bank's merchants for their convenience and in terms of the opportunity with the new payment option," he added.

JCB launched its card business in Japan in 1961 and began expanding worldwide in 1981. The brand says its acceptance network includes 34 million merchants and cash-advance locations globally.

The Japanese credit card network has focused intently the past two years on advancing its presence across borders, working with FIS to advance QR-code based digital wallet payments in Asia and with Viva Wallet to strengthen its merchant base in Europe.

This year, JCB worked with 3C Payments to establish what it was calling a post-pandemic strategy in building card acceptance at hotels, restaurants and parking garages across Europe, starting in Spain.

Riyad Bank services more than 45,000 POS terminals and more than 2,500 ATMs throughout Saudia Arabia, while operating as a major financier and syndicated loan provider in the Middle East.

The bank views the JCB partnership as one that will serve Saudi Arabia well when Japanese cardholders come to the Middle East for travel.

"This move would greatly benefit pilgrims visiting from the Far East, where our partner JCB has a strong presence, and the ever-increasing number of tourists visiting the Kingdom," Mohammed Abo Al-Naja, vice president of corporate banking at Riyad Bank, said in the release. "Furthermore, this complements our strategy and vision to bring to the market the latest and most innovative offerings while addressing the needs of our merchants and the market."

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Acquirers JCB Saudi Arabia Japan