Saudi Arabia's electronic bill payment system SADAD ranked second largest globally
Before the growth of the SADAD system, many individuals paid a huge percentage of their bills in cash at bank branches. The electronic billing system has cut down the government's losses from using a manual, cash-based system (Courtesy of Saudi Lifestyle)
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When the Saudi Ministry of Finance wanted to extend the highly successfully SADAD electronic bill presentation and payment service – which operates in partnership with banks and other billing agencies – to other public sector agencies, it used Microsoft solutions to deploy SADAD at 37 new sites, working over a period of five years, and ensuring that the public sector now serves more than 29 million citizens’ payment transactions.
First launched in 2004 by the Saudi Monetary Agency (SAMA), the Kingdom’s central bank, to facilitate and streamline bill payment transactions through banks, SADAD was designed to replace payment and collection that was fragmented and silo-based for government, citizens and businesses.
Over the years, the Ministry of Finance SADAD Enrolment Project has been expanded and is now handling a huge portion of government e-payments, significantly cutting the losses previously experienced by the government under its manual, cash-based system for paying fees and transaction charges. SADAD is also reducing the time taken by billers to collect money from banks – from up to 60 days to one business day.
Commenting on the need for SADAD, Yousef Al Hargan, SADAD Enrolment Project Manager, Ministry of Finance, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said: “Prior to SADAD, a huge percentage of bills were paid in cash at bank branches by customers throughout the kingdom. To extend the use of SADAD in the public sector, we issued an initial request for proposal for a partner to deploy and operate SADAD at up to 22 sites with an appropriate IT platform. We needed a technology solution that was open to accommodate the particular technologies used by different billers.”
Zaid Abunuwar, Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft – Arabia, said: “Time to market was a major consideration for the Ministry of Finance to encourage greater acceptance among the public of electronic processing of payments, especially as more services go online. We are delighted that ministry chose Microsoft as its partner in expanding the SADAD electronic payments system and are proud to say that our expertise ensured the first 22 sites required by the Ministry of Finance were delivered in just two years. In the third year, the number increased to 31, and then six more were subsequently added, making 37 in five years. Now, today, SADAD is the second largest electronic payments system in the world and already serves around 29 million users.”
Al Hargan further said with Microsoft technologies “Microsoft BizTalk and Microsoft SQL Server”, “around 29 million citizens and foreign residents can now access SADAD over the Internet or by telephone, which means they no longer need to pay bills in person. But people that can’t access these channels can still go to their nearest bank branch, where staff will help them make payments via SADAD.”
Citizen satisfaction has contributed to the rapid expansion of SADAD and 14 banks now accept SADAD payments.
The Ministry of Finance plans to extend SADAD to other agencies, having established a technology roadmap that includes upgrades for other Microsoft technologies.
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