Benefit electronic payments surge 84pc

MANAMA: Benefit, the operator of Bahrain’s electronic fund transfer system (EFTS), has reported an 84 per cent jump in the use of its e-commerce services last year.

In a statement issued after the annual general meeting of its shareholders yesterday, the company said point of sale (POS) usage rose 40pc in 2020.

There was an accelerated growth in electronic payments using the National Wallet (BenefitPay) with 50 million transactions at a value of over BD2.3 billion, representing 793pc growth in volumes and a more than 545pc surge in value.

Payments using Fawri, Fawri+ and Fawateer services enabled by the EFTS have also seen substantial growth, said Benefit.

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

In excess of 47m transactions were recorded using the Fawri+ service last year, a growth of 652pc in comparison with 6.3m transactions in 2019.

Around 8.7m transactions were carried out on Fawri with a growth rate of 23pc compared with 2019.

Fawateer transactions increased by 111pc year-on-year to 4.19m in 2020.

Also during 2020, the BenefitPay application saw new features added including remittances, car parking counter payment, split payment, request to pay, UI/UX enhancements and account balance information.

The group posted net profit of BD1.4m in 2020 as against BD3.3m for 2019, whereas total net assets as of end-2020 amounted to BD21.9m as against BD22.3m, as of end-2019.

Benefit chairman Mohamed Albastaki said, “Major initiatives in 2020 included the launch of the national tokenisation service – which enables NFC contactless payments – in collaboration with CBB and banks, the eKYC platform for digital onboarding, and fuel payments through BenefitPay, which has truly transformed a cash centric segment.”

The company’s chief executive Abdulwahid Janahi told shareholders that despite the pandemic, Benefit continued advancing the digitisation of payment infrastructure, making 2020 a transformational year.

Other achievements include a major upgrade of the e-commerce payment gateway, enhancements of the Bahrain Credit Reference Bureau (BCRB), and extension of business shared services to fintech payment service providers, third party providers, start-ups and others, he added.




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