CBB at the forefront of innovation

MANAMA — A delegation from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) visited Visa Innovation Center last May 15. The visit came in line with the CBB’s drive towards digitization and positioning the Kingdom of Bahrain at the forefront of payment innovation. The delegation was guided through Visa’s initiatives and experienced first-hand some of Visa’s innovative prototypes.

Known for being a forward-thinking regulator, the CBB has taken the front seat in instigating a progressive payment infrastructure and continuously explores the realms of cutting-edge innovation.

The launch of the Mobile e-Wallet “Benefit Pay” in 2017 marked yet another milestone in the Kingdom’s digital payments journey. The app, which was developed by the Benefit Company in its capacity as the Kingdom’s Payment Switch and Credit Bureau provides a wide range of services for both consumers and merchants supported by the QR Code scanning technology.

More notably, in 2015, the CBB in collaboration with the Benefit Company launched the Electronic Fund Transfer System (“EFTS”) which revolutionized the way frictionless payments are made. Through the EFTS network, all local banks and major billers are interconnected to enable near real-time fund transfer up to BD. 1,000 via the Fawri+ service. Additionally, users can opt for other services enabled by this network such as the deferred settlement fund transfer service, which allows users to transfer any amount of money (bank account to bank account) within just a few hours of the business day via the Fawri service as well as having the ability to settle bills in an aggregated manner via the Fawateer service.

It does not end here, though. With several initiatives and projects planned to be rolled-out on a national level, the CBB jointly with other governmental and non-governmental stakeholders such as the Information & e-Government Authority and the Benefit Company, commenced work on introducing a national Electronic Know-Your-Customer (“e-KYC”) utility which employs the latest technology in order to streamline the customer onboarding process and the on-going updates of customer information undertaken by financial institutions in Bahrain.

On another front, the CBB has earned international praise for its open and proactive approach towards developing a conducive FinTech ecosystem, especially with the introduction of its “Regulatory Sandbox” in mid-2017 and setting up a dedicated “FinTech & Innovation Unit” to steer FinTech related initiatives. — SG

Source: Saudi Gazette

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