Riyad Bank adopting contactless-payment EMV cards

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Dutch digital-security firm Gemalto said this week that Saudi Arabia's Riyad Bank is migrating its portfolio to Gemalto’s Clarista Contactless EMV card, allowing Riyad Bank to offer Saudi Arabia’s first contactless-payment method and offering consumers a faster and more-convenient payment method.

Gemalto’s system is powered with the banking industry-standard MULTOS operating system. Switching to the Clarista Contactless EMV card gives Riyad Bank a clear leg up in the local retail banking market, putting one of Saudi Arabia’s leading retail financial institutions at the forefront of one of the most powerful trends shaping the consumer environment in Saudi Arabia.

A recent ABI Research report predicts that there will be 100,000 contactless-payment terminals across Saudi Arabia by the end of 2015. If the trend continues, that will rise to half a million by 2019.

“Gemalto was the first to offer a dual-interface card that meets this requirement, a key determining factor in our decision," Khalid Hariry, Riyad Bank’s senior vice president and head of retail products, said. "Based on Riyad Bank's long-standing and successful business partnership with Gemalto and their position a as world leader in contactless EMV cards, they were the natural choice for our innovative project."

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