The aim is to reduce the amount of cash in circulation…

A new announcement states that all restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia must offer electronic payment to customers. This decision aims to significantly reduce the amount of cash in circulation in the Kingdom, and encourage businesses to introduce contactless technology.

National Programme to Combat Commercial Cover-up (Tasattur) introduced the new rule on July 29, effective immediately. The news comes as part of the fifth phase where outlets are required to provide e-payment methods.

This includes 50 commercial activities and 70 per cent of the retail sector. All remaining facilities will need to implement their e-payment systems before August 25, 2020, in accordance with the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).

Previously, the only outlets which offered an e-payment station was petrol stations – which implemented their system in the first phase. The next phase included workshops and stores for auto parts.

The third was targeted at personal services such as laundry and salons, while the forth included all grocery and supply stores. Now that we’re in the fifth stage, you can expect all restaurants serving food to offer an e-payment service.

This will include outlets who serve fast food and seafood, as well as cafes, buffets, food trucks, plus juice and ice cream shops. So you won’t need to worry about carrying cash around everywhere with you anymore.

Checks will be carried out around the country to ensure compliance. Any restaurant or food outlet which is found to refuse to implement an electronic payment method will be given the maximum penalty for this breach of rules.

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