How to Obtain a Payment Services License in Saudi Arabia

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed significant growth in its financial services sector, particularly in the realm of fintech. As part of its efforts to embrace this evolution, the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) introduced the Payment Services Provider Regulations (PSPR) in 2020. These regulations establish a clear pathway for obtaining a license as a Payment Services Provider (PSP) in the Kingdom.

Understanding PSP License Classification

Under the PSPR, applicants can apply for licenses categorized as Micro Electronic Money Institution (Micro EMI), Major Electronic Money Institution (Major EMI), Micro Payment Institution (PI), or Major Payment Institution (PI). Each classification corresponds to specific business activities and operational scope.

Covered Activities Under the PSP License

SAMA licenses PSPs to practice a wide range of payment services, ensuring they contribute to the Kingdom's financial ecosystem effectively. These services include:

  • Deposits and Withdrawals: Facilitating the deposit of funds into payment accounts and enabling cash withdrawals from these accounts, along with managing all associated operations.
  • Execution of Payment Transactions: Handling various payment transactions, including credit transfers, direct debits, and payments via payment cards or digital devices. PSPs facilitate seamless financial transactions between users and service providers.
  • Issuing Payment Instruments: Providing payment instruments such as cards, digital wallets, and other electronic means to facilitate transactions and enhance the convenience of payment services.
  • Payee Transactions Acquiring: Acting as intermediaries between merchants and payment networks, PSPs facilitate payment processing for businesses, ensuring secure and efficient transaction settlement.
  • Payment Aggregation Services: Offering aggregation services to consolidate and streamline payment processes for merchants and service providers, enhancing efficiency and reducing operational complexity.
  • Issuing Electronic Money: Providing electronic money issuance services, including opening e-wallets and other electronic accounts, to enable users to store and transact digital currency securely.
  • Payment Initiation Services: Initiating payment transactions on behalf of users, facilitating seamless fund transfers between accounts and payment service providers.
  • Payment Account Information Services: Providing users with access to their payment account information, including balances, transaction history, and other relevant data, to enhance transparency and financial management capabilities.
  • Payment Account Services: Offering comprehensive payment account services, including account management, funds transfer, and other related functions, to meet the diverse needs of users and businesses.
  • Other Services: SAMA reserves the right to classify additional services as payment services, ensuring regulatory oversight and alignment with evolving industry trends and consumer needs.

Eligibility Criteria

SAMA evaluates PSP license applications based on several criteria:

  • Regulatory Alignment: Ensuring that proposed activities align with the objectives and principles outlined in the Payment Services Provider Regulations and contribute to consumer protection and market competition.
  • Economic Impact: Evaluating the economic value generated by proposed payment services activities in the Kingdom and assessing their potential impact on financial stability and market dynamics.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Demonstrating the applicant's ability to comply with regulatory requirements and standards set forth in the PSP Regulations, including licensing conditions, operational guidelines, and reporting obligations.
  • Operational Capability: Assessing the applicant's operational capacity, technical expertise, and organizational readiness to effectively manage and oversee payment services operations while mitigating associated risks.
  • Oversight Effectiveness: Identifying any factors that may hinder SAMA's ability to oversee and regulate the applicant's activities effectively, including governance structure, transparency, and risk management practices.

Applicants must demonstrate their commitment to regulatory compliance, consumer protection, and financial stability to enhance their eligibility for a PSP license.

How to apply

  1. Gather Required Documents: Prepare necessary documents, including the license application form, company letter requesting a license, founding contract, organizational structure diagram, Fit and Proper forms for shareholders and board members, irrevocable bank guarantee, and proof of commercial registration.
  2. Complete Application Form: Fill out the license application form accurately, providing detailed responses to all questions. Avoid abbreviations and ensure completeness of the form and accompanying documents.
  3. Submit Application: Submit the completed application form and supporting documents to SAMA via postal mail or email. Ensure all attachments are appropriately labeled and formatted.
  4. License Process: SAMA reviews and evaluates the application within 90 calendar days. Additional information may be requested during this period. If all conditions are met, SAMA may grant the license or provide in-principle approval, subject to further requirements.

Documentation Requirements

Document Type


License Application Form

Completed form approved by the organization

Company's Letter

Letter requesting a license for payment services, accompanied by shareholders' decisions

Founding Contract (AOA) and Company Bylaws

Copy of the founding contract (Articles of Association) and drafted company bylaws indicating ownership details

Organizational Structure Diagram

Diagram outlining the organizational structure, including details of the board structure and senior management positions

Fit and Proper Form

Form for each founding shareholder and board member as specified by SAMA, including IDs and CVs

Irrevocable Bank Guarantee

Bank guarantee equivalent to minimum capital required, issued in favor of SAMA from a local bank

Proof of Commercial Registration or Investment License

Documentation from the Ministry of Commerce or Ministry of Investment for existing companies

Additional Supporting Documents

Any other documents supporting the license application as per Payment Services Providers Regulations

Processing Fee

After the application is approved and before the license is issued, the applicant must pay SAMA the corresponding license issuance fee as outlined in Article 7 of the Law, based on the type of license being applied for.

License Type

Processing Fee (SAR)

Micro PI License


Major PI License


Micro EMI License


Major EMI License


Payment Initiation Services License


Payment Account Information Services License


AML and Fraud Considerations

PSPs must adhere to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations and implement robust fraud prevention measures. AML laws in Saudi Arabia are governed by the Anti-Money Laundering Law and its Implementing Regulations, aligned with international standards. PSPs must conduct thorough risk assessments, comply with licensing requirements, and implement transaction monitoring systems to detect and prevent money laundering activities.


Obtaining a Payment Services License in Saudi Arabia is a structured process governed by the PSPR and overseen by SAMA. By understanding the requirements, fulfilling eligibility criteria, and prioritizing compliance with AML and fraud prevention measures, PSPs can navigate the licensing process successfully and contribute to the Kingdom's evolving fintech landscape.

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