Visa Inc, the world’s largest retail electronic payments network, Al Rajhi Bank and Microsoft have entered into a strategic agreement to provide financial solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are adopting advanced technology into their business operations.
Under the agreement, Al Rajhi will introduce a Visa-Microsoft “Aamal” credit card, which will become the first Visa Microsoft co-branded credit card in Saudi Arabia. Saudi-based IT and communications solution provider Al-Falak Electronic Equipment & Supplies Co. will provide the Microsoft programmes required for the new service.
Saeed Al Ghamdi, Deputy CEO of Al Rajhi Bank, explained that the bank is issuing the card in order to enhance the operations of SMEs by enabling them to adopt advanced technologies that will help them to keep pace with the rapid growth of the Saudi IT sector.
“We encourage innovative ideas which will improve the productivity of private and public establishments. Through our “Aamal” credit card, we will offer facilities that can help achieve business success,” said Al Gahmdi.
Ihab Ayoub, General Manager, Visa, KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen, said: “This agreement will utilize Microsoft’s programming expertise and Al Rajhi’s financial services to enhance the contributions of SMEs to national economic development. We remain committed to providing these services with flexible payment facilities they may need, to further integrate and develop into their business system.”
The Visa-Microsoft “Aamal” credit card helps SMEs better manage their cash flow while being involved in building infrastructure, improving efficiencies, enhancing employee productivity and reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The card also represents a lower risk tool for SMEs compared to cheques, and is cost-effective as transactions can be controlled by authorization. Moreover, this card reduces the dependency on petty cash.
“Our partnership with Visa and Al Rajhi Bank is part of our strategy of supporting the IT sector and using modern technology, particularly our advanced IT products and services, to assist locally-based companies from various industries in optimizing their operations. We hope that this agreement will help in the development of the Kingdom’s IT sector and encourage companies to enhance their performance in accordance with the highest standards of excellence and quality,” added Khaled Al Dhaher, Director General, Microsoft KSA.
Visa Commercial offers a programme especially designed to help SME businesses save costs and attain better returns. With a suite of discounts and benefits offered by leading solutions providers can help the operation’s cost in check and enable the smooth running of its business.
Visa will provide the electronic payment services needed to facilitate the business transactions of Aamal card holders and through al Rajhi bank the card will extend payment installments facilities for their purchase of Microsoft products. The unique initiative complements the commitment of the three companies to providing additional assistance for SMEs and promoting a competitive work environment that supports the Kingdom’s economic diversity.'

Ketaki Banga

Ten years of content creation, strategising and managing the big picture. I write across various subjects and media including print, online, documentaries, television, advertising and marketing-communication. Currently, as the editor of SME Advisor Middle East – a magazine for small and medium enterprises – I handle print, online initiatives, magazine events and business development. Prior to this, I worked with ZK McCann Tanzania, handling brand strategy and campaigns in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi for clients such as Celtel (telecom), CRDB (bank), TANESCO (electricity), TTCL (telecom), PSI (Population Services International—an NGO), TCC (Tanzania Cigarette Company), TBL (Tanzania Breweries Limited), Mwananchi and The Citizen newspapers, Coke, Gapco (petrol), Hitachi, and more. In India, besides working with various publications, I was also a lead content developer with Tata Interactive Systems, an e-learning company that caters to top international clients. My job involved understanding instructional design fundamentals to design and develop educational and training content ranging across K-12, university, corporate and government lines of businesses.