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A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Bahrain.
Available for worldwide markets, Verisk Financial Research Country Reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit.
A dedicated team of analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and experts.
How digitalisation efforts are faring in this cash-based Bahrain society
The preferences shaping credit/debit cardholding patterns
How foreign issuers are finding opportunities in Bahrain
The role of sharia-compliant products
Why Bahrain cheque payments are finally declining
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Demographics and the economy
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Regulatory and other cards market information
Appendices: Card Payments Data
Appendix I: Demographics and the economy
Appendix II: Payments environment
Appendix III: Cards market
Appendix IV: Profit pool
Appendix V: The networks
Appendix VI: Key retail banks and issuers
Appendix VII: Acquirers and processing
Appendix VIII: Online acquiring
Demographics and Economy
Bahraini citizens are among the most technologically advanced in terms of mobile technology, as smartphone penetration exceeds 100%. The number of internet users increased between 2012 and 2018, reaching 1.4 million users, or 95.7% of the population.
Bahrain is a predominantly cash-based society, with cash often used for payments at small businesses. After cash, payment cards are the most widely used method of non-cash payment instrument at the POS and their usage continues to increase each year.
Bahrain's payment cards market has been growing significantly; total purchase volume on credit and debit cards surpassed $5 billion in 2018, almost double the total in 2012.
The country's appetite for mobile payments is growing: several digital wallets have been launched in recent years, enabling users to make instant payments with their smartphones as well as to facilitate the collection of payments electronically through debit and credit cards.
Profitability is driven by high-spending customers with an average of almost $10,000 billed per card each year. Although spending per card has remained flat over recent years, the overall billed volume has increased thanks to growth in card numbers.
Visa is the largest card scheme in Bahrain in terms of the number of cards and billed volume. However, Mastercard is slowly increasing its market share in the country. The number of Visa debit cards in issue has grown in recent years as its key issuers – Standard Chartered, Citibank, Bahrain Islamic Bank and Kuwait Finance House – have grown their debit card customer base.
Key Retail Banks and Issuers
Foreign players have a significant presence in the credit cards market. Three multinational banks – Standard Chartered, HSBC and Citibank – are among the top five credit card issuers in the market. National Bank of Bahrain (NBB), Ahli United Bank (AUB), and Bahrain Islamic Bank are the top three debit card issuers.
Acquiring and Processing
There are three major merchant acquirers in Bahrain: CrediMax, NBB and AUB. CrediMax and NBB dominate the market, with a combined share of 86% in terms of credit card acquired billed volume.
Credit cards are the most popular online payment method in Bahrain, accounting for an estimated 44% of total e-commerce billed volume. The next most popular online payment method is paying by debit card.
Regulatory and Markets Information
In June 2018, the Central Bank of Bahrain applied a new sharia-governance module to Islamic banking players in a bid to further improve standards for the sector. Such is the kingdom's reputation in this area that the overhaul is expected to serve as a global benchmark.
Abu Dhabi Global Markets
Ahli United Bank
Al Baraka Banking Group
Al Salam Bank Bahrain
Amazon Web Services
Arab Financial Services
Bahrain Association of Banks
Bahrain Development Board and Fintech
Bahrain Fintech Bay
Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance
Bahrain Islamic Bank
Bahrain Royal Medical Services
Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait
Central Bank of Bahrain
Central Informatics Organisations
Credit Reference Bureau
Dragon City Bahrain
Eazy Financial Services
Economic Vision 2030
Electricity and Water Authority
Electronic Network for Financial Transactions
FinTech & Innovation Unit
GCC Development Fund
Global Financial Innovation Network
Global Payment Services
Gulf Cooperation Council
Gulf International Bank
Hightech Payment Systems
Khaleej Al Bahrain
Khaleeji Commercial Bank
Kuwait Finance House – Bahrain
Kuwait Financial House
Marks & Spencer
Ministry of Works
Monetary Authority of Singapore
National Bank of Bahrain
Real Estate Regulatory Authority
Survey and Land Registration Bureau
The Benefit Company
Reports delivering market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit for the Middle East. Analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary sources and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and Middle East experts.
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