GCC payments industry set to leapfrog other economies in 2021

Enhanced digitalisation and tech adoption across the region sees digital transactions increasing

  
  • Payments made via Bahrain’s BenefitPay set to exceed US$4billion this year
  • 49 per cent increase in online shopping for UAE consumers reported earlier this year
  • 37 per cent of financial transactions in KSA are now digital, according to SAMA

Manama: After a year of increased digitalisation and major shifts in the FinTech landscape, the GCC payments industry is set to leapfrog other major economies in 2021.

The region has traditionally relied heavily on cash but is now looking to overtake the adoption of digital payments in other parts of the world. As the foundations for digitalisation of payments are still developing across the GCC and wider Arab world, COVID-19 has had a catalysing impact on the adoption of FinTech – particularly in the payments space.

Dalal Buhejji, Financial Services Director at the Bahrain Economic Development Board said: “There is no doubt COVID-19 has catalysed digitalisation across the region, and the way Gulf citizens spend has changed for good.

“While no-one could have predicted a pandemic, the Gulf has been well prepared. In Bahrain we laid the groundwork for coping with this shift in consumer behaviour when we brought in a number of tech-friendly laws and regulations, introduced a commercial 5G network and brought AWS’ first data centre in the GCC to the Kingdom.

“Where previously the Gulf may have been typecast as late adopters of emerging technologies, statistics like these show we are not only closing the gap between us and other regions, we will soon be leapfrogging them. It’s a very dynamic time for the entire Gulf ecosystem.”

In 2020 the Arab Monetary Fund launched ‘Buna’, a cross-border payments platform for the Arab World, while the GCC countries launched the GCC Payments Company, which will build and operate a cross-border, multi-currency, real-time system across the region.

Consumers too are becoming increasingly comfortable with digital payments. In September 2020, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) advised that the country’s cashless transactions target of 28 per cent by the end of 2020 had already been significantly exceeded with e-transactions making up 37 per cent of all financial transaction in the Kingdom.

A similar result emerged in the UAE, where a survey by Dubai Police, Dubai Economy and Visa earlier this year revealed that 68 per cent of respondents in the UAE have reduced shopping in-store since the outbreak of the pandemic, while 49 per cent shop more online.

In Bahrain, transactions on payments platform BenefitPay are reported to have increased by a staggering 367 per cent so far this year, crossing the BHD1.5 billion (US$3.99 billion) threshold in November. With the festive season approaching, it looks likely that the value of transactions will exceed US$4 billion by year end.

--Ends-

For more information, please contact:
Communications and Media Department
Economic Development Board
E-mail: internationalmedia@bahrainedb.com

About Bahrain Economic Development Board

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is an investment promotion agency with overall responsibility for attracting investment into the Kingdom and supporting initiatives that enhance the investment climate.

The EDB works with the government and both current and prospective investors, in order to ensure that Bahrain’s investment climate is attractive, to communicate the key strengths, and to identify where opportunities exist for further economic growth through investment.

The EDB focuses on several economic sectors that capitalise on Bahrain’s competitive advantages and provide significant investment opportunities. These sectors include financial services, manufacturing, ICT, tourism, logistics and transport.

For more information on the Bahrain EDB visit www.bahrainedb.com; for information about Bahrain visit www.bahrain.com

Send us your press releases to pressrelease.zawya@refinitiv.com

© Press Release 2020

Disclaimer: The contents of this press release was provided from an external third party provider. This website is not responsible for, and does not control, such external content. This content is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis and has not been edited in any way. Neither this website nor our affiliates guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views or opinions expressed in this press release.

The press release is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Neither this website nor our affiliates shall be liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the content, or for any actions taken by you in reliance thereon. You expressly agree that your use of the information within this article is at your sole risk.

To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, this website, its parent company, its subsidiaries, its affiliates and the respective shareholders, directors, officers, employees, agents, advertisers, content providers and licensors will not be liable (jointly or severally) to you for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, incidental, punitive or exemplary damages, including without limitation, lost profits, lost savings and lost revenues, whether in negligence, tort, contract or any other theory of liability, even if the parties have been advised of the possibility or could have foreseen any such damages.

More From Press Releases