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Bahrain Country Report

  • Published Date: November 2019

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Bahrain.

Available for 72 markets, Lafferty 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.

What you will learn from this report:

  • How digitalisation efforts are faring in this cash-based society
  • The preferences shaping credit/debit cardholding patterns
  • How foreign issuers are finding opportunities
  • The role of sharia-compliant products
  • Why cheque payments are finally declining

Bahrain Cards and Payments Market Key Facts

  • Bahrain is predominantly a cash-based society. The government is taking initiatives to encourage greater use of electronic payments.
  • The Benefit Company, a bank-owned organisation, operates the ATM and POS switches and is playing a key role in the digitalisation of payments.
  • In 2017, it released BenefitPay, a national e-wallet that facilitates real-time peer-to-peer transfers, bill settlement and QR code payments at the point of sale.
  • Two years earlier, Benefit launched the country's electronic funds transfer system, providing the medium for near-instant payments and a new bill payments method.
  • Debit cards are the most popular type of card in Bahrain: there are three times as many debit cards as credit cards in issue.
  • Credit cards are preferred for purchases, accounting for over 60 percent of purchase volume. Debit cards are used primarily for cash withdrawal.
  • As is the case elsewhere in the Middle East, growth in the credit cards market is focused on the premium segment. With just one in five adults having a credit card, the customer base largely consists of affluent clients.
  • Interchange and other transaction-based fees are the main revenue sources for issuers, with interest income being relatively low.
  • CrediMax, a subsidiary of the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, is the largest issuer and acquirer of credit cards in the country.
  • Foreign banks have long been prominent in this retail banking market: Standard Chartered, HSBC and Citibank all have strong credit card portfolios.

View the Bahrain Country Report Table of Contents

Key facts
Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information
Appendices: Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators
  • Ownership of key consumer devices
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points
  • Account penetration
  • Consumer payment trends
  • B2C e- commerce payment methods

Appendix III: Cards market

  • Total cards payment metrics
  • Credit card numbers
  • Total credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability indicators
  • Debit cards numbers
  • Debit cards metrics
  • Prepaid/e-money cards metrics

Appendix IV: Profit pool

  • Profit pool

Appendix V: The networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network
  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value
  • Debit card interchange fees by network

Appendix VI: Key retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix VII: Acquiring and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by number of POS transactions

Appendix VIII: Online acquiring

  • Online merchant acquirer market share

Entities referenced in this report

Abu Dhabi Global Markets
ACI Worldwide
Ahli United Bank
Al Baraka Banking Group
Al Salam Bank Bahrain
Almoayed Technologies
Amazon Web Services
American Express
Apple Pay
Arab Bank
Arab Financial Services
AUB M-Bank
AXA Insurance
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
British Airways
Central Bank of Bahrain
Central Informatics Organisations
Costa Coffee
Credit Reference Bureau
Dragon City Bahrain
Eazy Financial Services
Economic Vision 2030
eGovernment Authority
Electricity and Water Authority
Electronic Network for Financial Transactions
FinTech & Innovation Unit
GCC Development Fund
Global Financial Innovation Network
Global Payment Services
Google Pay
Gulf Air
Gulf Cooperation Council
Gulf International Bank
Hightech Payment Systems
Ithmaar Bank
Khaleej Al Bahrain
Khaleeji Commercial Bank
Kuwait Finance House – Bahrain
Kuwait Financial House
Lulu Hypermarket
Marks & Spencer
Medgulf Takaful
Ministry of Works
Monetary Authority of Singapore
National Bank of Bahrain
NCR Corporation
Network International
Payments Academy
Polytechnic University
Real Estate Regulatory Authority
Regulatory Sandbox
Samsung Pay
Shamil Bank
Singapore Airlines.
Standard Chartered
Survey and Land Registration Bureau
TAM Dinar
The Benefit Company
VIVA Bahrain


Available for 72 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.

See more Middle East Country Reports or explore the full range of Verisk Financial Research Country Reports.

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