55pc rise in Bahrain’s cashless transactions

MANAMA: More than 11 million cashless transactions were recorded in Bahrain last month, 55.5 per cent higher than September 2020, shows the latest Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) data.

Infographics from the banking regulator reveal the volume of cashless payments was 11,508,678 (69.1pc of them contactless) in September, whereas the total value of purchase of products and services using credit and debit cards at both points of sale and online (e-commerce) grew 38.3pc year-on-year (YoY) to BD284 million.

E-commerce saw a 7.4pc jump in volume YoY and a 30.4pc jump in value, further indication of a secular bounce-back into expansionary territory.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 last year, consumers have preferred to use less cash, seeking safer and cleaner payment methods, and banks in the country have responded by issuing credit and debit cards using near-field communication (NFC) technology.

Over the last few years most local and international banks have started offering cardless withdrawals from their ATMs using the BenefitPay e-wallet, from Benefit, the kingdom’s only operator of electronic financial transactions.

The service has been made possible because of tokenisation – the process of protecting sensitive data by replacing it with an algorithmically-generated number called a token.

The CBB statistics show that the highest number of transactions last month were carried out in restaurants (3,674,461), up 0.3pc YoY, followed by supermarkets (2,712,250), up 7.9pc, health (783,892), up 3.6pc, government services (718,529), up 3.2pc, and department stores (541,002), down 6.2pc.

In terms of value, government services at BD74.6m, up 6.1pc YoY, led the top five sectors, with supermarkets at BD31.6m, up 8.8pc, coming next, followed by restaurants (BD28m), down 1.6pc, health (BD15.6m), up 2.7pc, and automobile dealerships (BD13.6m).

The CBB report notes that electronic fund transfers in the kingdom increased during September, extending the rising trend to a year.

Transactions using Fawri, Fawri+ and Fawateer services, enabled by the electronic fund transfer system (EFTS), continue to see substantial growth.

Fawri+ is an almost real-time fund transfer service that allows individuals or organisations to transfer funds of up to BD1,000 per day in less than 30 seconds; whereas Fawri is a deferred settlement fund transfer service that enables individuals or organisations to transfer any amount within a few hours of the business day, and Fawateer provides real-time bill payments.

Last month, Fawri+ accounted for the vast majority of EFTS transactions, at 13,292,598, up 156.7pc YoY, followed by Fawateer at 842,180, up 62.3pc and Fawri at 790,533, up 9.2pc.

However, in terms of transaction value, Fawri was the leader at BD1,380m, up 19pc YoY, followed by Fawri+ at BD389.3m, up 67.2pc, and Fawateer at BD55m, up 31pc.

The volume of successful payment gateway transactions was 25,615 to and their value was up 67.64pc to BD8.724bn.

Data shows that the number of successful ATM withdrawals was 1.25m, amounting to a total of BD115.4m.

avinash@gdn.com.bh

Source: https://www.gdnonline.com/Details/980175

 

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