Nearly 15 million cashless transactions were recorded in Bahrain last month, 6.4 per cent higher than March 2022, shows the latest data from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

Infographics published by the regulator show that the total transactions (point-of-sale plus e-commerce) in March 2023 amounted to BD349m ($852.9m), 9.3pc higher than February 2023.

Exactly half (50pc) of the 14,863,222 transactions were contactless, reflecting a shift in behaviour among consumers who previously primarily paid cash or were moderate card spenders.

Data shows that the highest number of transactions in March 2023 were carried out in restaurants (4,701,113), followed by supermarkets (3,691,125), government services (1,174,100), health services (831,323) and automobile dealerships (701,013).

In terms of value, government services at BD97m led the top five sectors, with supermarkets at BD37.9m coming next, followed by restaurants (BD34.8m), telecommunications services (BD23.7m) and automobile dealers (BD18.3m).

The report shows electronic fund transfers in the kingdom increased during March 2023, extending the rising trend to more than three years.

Transactions using Fawri, Fawri+ and Fawateer services, enabled by the electronic fund transfer system (EFTS), continue to see substantial growth, cumulatively amounting to 29,499,567 last month.

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 (92.8pc) of EFTS transactions, followed by Fawateer making up 3.8pc and Fawri, taking a 3.4pc share.

The number of transactions completed through Fawri+ in March 2023 amounted to 27,363,899, up 40.70pc from the same month last year.

In terms of value of usage for each service, Fawri was the leader at 72.8pc, followed by Fawri+ at 24.6pc and Fawateer at 2.6pc.

Fawri transactions amounted to BD1.86 billion last month, up 8.82pc from March 2022, whereas Fawri+ deals added up to a total of BD632.3m.

Also presented by the CBB was last month’s record of real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system transactions, where the value of interbank transactions was BD9.26bn, 20pc higher than the same month last year.

Data also shows that the value of payment gateway transactions was BD63.20m and the volume was 1.26m.

There has been a 13pc year-on-year drop in volume of ATM withdrawals to 1.149m, with their value sliding by the same amount to BD114.5m.


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