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July-September 2020

Coronavirus: Bahrain sees fintech take-up surge amid Covid-19 crisis

Bahrain’s mobile payment app has seen a huge surge in take-up during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic as the country’s population is driven to digital payments. Restrictions introduced to try to reduce the global health crisis are bringing financial technology (fintech) and other digital technologies to the fore as consumers change their day-to-day behaviour and businesses alter how they operate. For example, use of BenefitPay, the island nation’s national smartphone payments app, has surged by over 1,000% during the pandemic. Today, there are over 444,000 registered users, which is about 28% of Bahrain’s population. Dalal Buhejji, senior manager for financial services at the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said Bahrain has not had a strict lockdown, but has put in restrictions such as social distancing and encouraging people to work from home. She said the minimum value needed to make a transaction on BenefitPay had been reduced to encourage its use during the pandemic. “In the past, it was more of a luxury to use digital ...

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