Coronavirus: Over 80pct of Saudi grocery, supply stores switch to using e-payments

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Over 80 percent of supply and grocery stores in Saudi Arabia have switched to using cashless electronic payments amid measures to stem the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the kingdom’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

The Ministry of Commerce said their field teams have carried out over 9,677 inspection visits across all regions of the Kingdom during the past week to verify the commitment of groceries and supplies to provide electronic payment methods to consumers.

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“The results of the field visits showed an increase in the commitment of stores in providing electronic means of payment to consumers within four days of the rule being applied, as the proportion of committed establishments reached 80 percent of the facilities visited, while 1,895 violations were issued on 20 percent of non-compliant establishments,” the ministry said in its statement.

A Ministry of Commerce employee inspects a grocery store. (SPA)
A Ministry of Commerce employee inspects a grocery store. (SPA)

Earlier last month, all grocery stores across Saudi Arabia were required to provide electronic payment methods to customers in order to reduce cash circulation amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The deadline to abide by the new rule was set for May 10 at the time.

Last month, according to an Independent UK report, the World Health Organization (WHO) said “it’s possible” for the virus to spread through banknotes. The report also said WHO advised switching to contactless payments, or for people to wash their hands immediately after handling cash.

(With inputs from Al Arabiya English’s Joanne Serrieh)

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