Bahrain's Cashless Payments Projected To Rise To $3.62 Billion In H1 2021
The number of POS and e-commerce transactions in Bahrain rose in August year on year by 65%, reaching during the month a total value of nearly 744 million US dollars, after reaching $ 3.62 billion in the first half of 2021, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) announced.
Photo Insert: Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director of Business Development Investment Origination, Bahrain EDB
According to new figures from the CBB reported to PR Newswire, there were more than 11.3 million digital transactions in Bahrain last month, valued at 279.6 million BD (743.7 million dollars).
The value of payments in electronic commerce and at the point of sale (PoS) increased by 50% in August 2021 compared to the same month last year. The data shows that more than 53 million digital payments were made in the first half of 2021.
The numbers reflect the trend in the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is currently seeing a surge in online and digital payments across the region as countries accelerate the transition to cashless societies in the wake of the pandemic.
Last year's lockdowns resulted in a dramatic shift towards digital payment systems. BenefitPay, Bahrain's national electronic wallet, announced a 785% increase in transfers via its Fawri + service (an online payment service introduced as part of the electronic money transfer system) to over $ 5 million in 2020.
And studies by the European Payments Council show that around 139 billion cashless individual transactions will be processed in the MENA region in 2022, 90 billion more than five years ago.
Bahrain is one of the pioneers in the Middle East on the way to a paperless financial system, thanks to its innovative regulation of FinTech. Bahrain has one of the most advanced digital infrastructures in the world and has produced several leading startups that are revolutionizing digital payments in the region.
Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director of Business Development Investment Origination at the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: “Even before the pandemic, the Gulf Cooperation Council introduced digital and mobile banking and payments. Bahrain foresaw the trends sparked by the pandemic. The kingdom has proven that it can react quickly to new financial technologies and regulate them flexibly. An example of our forward-looking regulatory framework is how the kingdom mandated the introduction of open banking. Thanks to our regulatory approach and our advanced digital infrastructure, we are leading the way in developing the technologies, solutions, and ecosystems that will shape the future of the digital economy in the region. "
Open banking reforms are expected to have far-reaching implications for the payments business, according to a recent McKinsey study published on Aug. 23. When asked which government or regulatory agency measures would be most effective to encourage customers to use digital payments, 27% of respondents cited regulatory approval for open banking.
In 2018, Bahrain took a leap forward in the financial services sector by issuing rules for open banking, followed by a framework of guidelines for data sharing and governance in 2020.