Digital wallet transactions in Bahrain surge 196.2%

Digital wallet transactions in Bahrain tripled last year supported by the proliferation of new technologies, along with changes in consumer behaviour, according to a new report by the Central Bank of Bahrain.

The first edition of the Bahrain Digital Payment Landscape Report shows that the volume of payments made using digital wallets surged 196.2 per cent in 2021, with the value rising 111.6 per cent.

In the report, the CBB noted that in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, digital wallets are proving to be increasingly popular amongst consumers seeking safe and secure contactless payment options.

“These digital wallets are able to store vital user data related to payment and other personal information that can then be used for credit or debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards, coupons, hotel reservations, among other things,” it adds.

“Mobile companies, banks, airlines and retail outlets have championed the use of digital wallets and used them to offer customer convenience in transacting.”

The report includes a comprehensive study of the development of payment and settlement services in the kingdom’s banking sector in recent years.

It shows that the volume of point of sale transactions in Bahrain grew by 49.8 per cent to 125.5 million in 2021, whereas the total value of such payments amounted to BD3.2 billion during the same period, posting a growth of 34.6 per cent over the prior year.

Two-thirds (65.6 per cent) of the total POS transactions were contactless payments and in terms of value, contactless payments accounted for 39.8 per cent of POS transactions.

Non-cash transaction volumes in Middle East and Africa grew by 7.8 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.

The growth is higher than in Latin America (up 3 per cent), North America (2 per cent) and Europe (3.3 per cent).

In the Asia-Pacific region, the volume of non-cash transactions went up 16.6 per cent during the same period.

The report also highlights the efforts made to introduce modern technologies to facilitate banking transactions in a manner that benefits the efficiency of services provided to the public.

CBB has announced it is currently working towards providing a digital version of the Bahraini dinar that would help support customers making peer-to-peer payments, without the need of any intermediaries.

It will mimic cash in every aspect whilst remaining intangible and virtual in nature, and will be operating on Distributed Ledger Technology.