MANAMA: Cashless transactions in Bahrain jumped 30 per cent to nearly BD290.5 million last month when compared with the same month of 2021, data from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) reveal.

There were more than 12.5m point-of-sale (PoS) and e-commerce transactions in Bahrain last month, 70.8pc of them contactless, the banking regulator said.

The figures reflect the trend in the rest of the GCC, which is currently experiencing a region-wide surge in online and digital payments as countries accelerate their transition towards cashless societies in the wake of the pandemic.

The highest number of transactions last month were carried out in restaurants (4,178,870), followed by supermarkets (2,900,648), health services (923,742), government services (746,185) and department stores (567,987).

In terms of value, government services at BD78.6m led the top five sectors, with restaurants at BD33m coming next, followed by supermarkets (BD32.8m), health (BD15.5m) and hotels and resorts (BD13.9m).

The infographic shows electronic fund transfers in the kingdom increased during January 2022, extending the rising trend to more than 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 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.

Last month, Fawri+ accounted for the vast majority, 90pc, of EFTS transactions, followed by Fawri at 5.1pc and Fawateer at 4.9pc.

However, in terms of transaction value, Fawri was the leader at 72.8pc, followed by Fawri+ at 23.2pc and Fawateer at 4pc.

The number of transactions completed through Fawri+ in January 2022 amounted to 16,585,948, up 106.4pc from January 2021.

In terms of value, Fawri+ transactions amounted to BD444.04m last month, up 52.9pc from the same month last year.

As for Fawri, the number of transactions was up 13.5pc at 931,740 from the same month last year.

Transactions made through the Fawateer service amounted to 904,646, higher by 45.87pc than January 2021.

And research from the European Payments Council indicates that the Mena region will process around 139 billion individual non-cash transactions in 2022, which is 90bn more than five years ago.

Bahrain is among the leaders of the Middle East’s march towards a cashless financial system, thanks to its innovative regulation of fintech.

The kingdom boasts some of the world’s most advanced digital infrastructure and has produced several leading start-ups that are disrupting the region’s digital payments infrastructure.


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