Benefit eyes global platform

Benefit, the operator of the national electronic fund transfer system (EFTS), is looking to go beyond the shores of Bahrain as part of a new strategy, its chairman Mohamed Albastaki has said.

The company which was established as the national ATM and point of sale switch in 1997 and has since developed into a fintech innovator has the ambition to take its expertise to a global platform and tap newer markets across the world, said the chairman addressing shareholders during the annual general meeting at the company’s headquarters yesterday.

“This focus on internationalisation will provide a boost to Bahrain’s reputation as a thought leader and innovator, and will open up newer markets for our services,” Mr Albastaki explained.

Besides internationalisation, the 2022-24 strategy roadmap lists multiple initiatives focussing on payment infrastructure, enabling access to credit and supporting digitalisation.

During the meeting where the company’s financial performance was reviewed, shareholders were informed that the company’s net profit of BD1,790,314 for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, was more than double the net profit of BD715,497 seen in 2021.

Total assets as of end-December 2022 amounted to BD28.7m, as against BD25.4m as of end-2021.

Benefit saw an accelerated growth of electronic payments due to the national e-wallet, BenefitPay, reaching a total volume of 252.5 million in the year 2022, a 70.8pc increase in volume compared to 2021.

Furthermore, the electronic fund transfer system (EFTS) on all channels has witnessed substantial growth in 2022, with over 245m Fawri+ transactions which is a 74pc increase from 2021.

More than 11m Fawri transactions were made in 2022, with a growth rate of 14pc compared to 2021. Fawateer transactions have significantly grown in 2022, reaching almost 12m transactions and representing a 31pc growth rate with their total value exceeding BD928.7m compared to 2021.

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.

The meeting saw approval of the corporate governance report and compliance for 2022 per the requirements of the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Industry and Commerce Ministry.

Furthermore, shareholders gave their assent to the appointment and election of two executive directors until the end of the board’s term in March 2025, subject to the Central Bank of Bahrain’s approval.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Mr Albastaki stated: “The year 2022 has been quite remarkable for Benefit in terms of achieving several outstanding accomplishments, and I would like to thank our board members for their relentless efforts, our dedicated team, partners, stakeholders, and our users for investing in Benefit’s vision. The company successfully implemented its commitments to our clients and shareholders, as well as made phenomenal advances towards our strategic ambitions by broadening our innovative technology initiatives, establishing a cashless payment ecosystem, and maintaining the kingdom as the region’s financial hub.”

Also reviewing 2022, Benefit chief executive Abdulwahed AlJanahi said: “We not only met our financial objectives, but we also laid the groundwork for our company’s future success. The year witnessed an increase in new successes and partnerships for Benefit, allowing us to further strengthen the company’s sustainability. Among these are our cross-border payments initiative, our participation in several key regional and international events, and strategic initiatives that play a critical role in fostering and advancing GCC economies as a whole, as well as Benefit’s commitment to advancing the digitisation of Bahrain’s payment infrastructure.”




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