A homegrown payment services provider, the region’s pioneering open banking platform and a crypto-asset exchange are proud flag-bearers of Bahrain in Forbes Middle East’s latest Fintech 50 ranking.

Securing the 19th spot in the list of the region’s most innovative players transforming the financial landscape is EazyPay founded by Nayef Al Alawi in 2016.

The Bahrain-based fintech offers payment services, POS systems, online payment gateway services, and cards and virtual accounts issued across the country.

With a network of 1,800 merchants and more than 7,628 POS terminals, EazyPay processed transactions worth $2.7 billion in 2023, up from $1.8bn in 2022. It currently operates in Bahrain, with clients including Talabat, Uber, TikTok, FedEx, stc, Sharaf DG, and Bahrain International Circuit.

The firm plans to expand into the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman this year.

In 30th place, crypto-asset exchange Rain allows investors across the GCC and Türkiye to buy, sell, trade, and store virtual assets.

Jointly headquartered in Bahrain and the UAE, it also offers a fiat-to-crypto onramp in local currency along with instant funding and withdrawals in the UAE through a local banking partner.

In 2023, it was awarded a financial services permission licence from the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Financial Services Regulatory Authority.

It also launched the advanced trading platform Rain Pro. Rain operates in 10 countries and has more than 413,000 users. It has processed $4.7 billion across more than four million transactions since its inception.

Founded by Abdullah Almoaiqel, Yehia Badawy, Adam Nelson, Joseph Dallago in 2017, the company has secured $119m from investors, including Paradigm, Coinbase, and MEVP.

Headquartered in the UAE now, Tarabut is the brain-child of Bahraini Abdulla Almoayed and was established in the kingdom in 2018.

The open banking platform offers real-time access to financial data and payment infrastructure, allowing banks, lenders, fintechs, and startups to create advanced financial products.

Ranking 33rd in the list, Tarabut operates in the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

It has achieved over 90pc bank coverage in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. It had over 715 sign-ups to the developer portal as of December 2023, a 186pc increase from 2022.

Tarabut closed a $32 million ‘Series A’ funding round in 2023 from investors, including Aljazira Capital, Visa, and Tiger Global, bringing its total funding to $57m.

Forbes identified top companies across digital payments, open banking, investment, savings and lending apps to compile the list.

Selection criteria include external funding, transaction volume, app downloads, user base, consumer impact, geographical reach, and achievements in growth, innovation, and expansion over the past year. Excluded were fintech arms of traditional banks, exchange houses, and government entities.

UAE’s Wio Bank, backed by ADQ, Alpha Dhabi, e&, and First Abu Dhabi Bank, secured the top spot. Launched in September 2022 by chief executive Jayesh Patel, Wio offers a digital banking platform with “Wio Business” catering to businesses and “Wio Personal” serving retail customers.

Egypt’s Fawry, boasting over 51.7m users and offering e-payments and digital finance solutions, came in second. Notably, Egypt dominated the list with 13 entries, followed by the UAE and Saudi Arabia (11 each), forming 70pc of the rankings. Payment companies led the pack with 26 entries.

Buy-Now, Pay-Later (BNPL) platforms like Tabby, Tamara, and MNT-Halan witnessed a surge, all featuring among the top 10 after achieving unicorn status in 2023 through significant debt and equity funding rounds.

Morocco’s HPS, the oldest company on the list (founded 1995), offers card and payment technology. Listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange with a market cap of $434m (as of March 4, 2024), HPS expanded to Canada and India in 2023. Wio Bank and UAE’s Qlub (restaurant payment solution) were the youngest entries, established in 2022.


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