According to the latest data from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), cashless transactions in Bahrain have increased by 6.4% compared to March 2022. Nearly 15 million cashless transactions were recorded last month, with the total transactions amounting to BD349m ($852.9m), representing a 9.3% increase from February 2023.
Shift in consumer behavior
The data shows that half of the total transactions were contactless, indicating a significant shift in consumer behaviour towards cashless payments. The highest number of transactions in March 2023 were carried out in restaurants, followed by supermarkets, government services, health services, and automobile dealerships.
In terms of value, government services led the top five sectors, followed by supermarkets, restaurants, telecommunications services, and automobile dealers. Electronic fund transfers in Bahrain also increased in March 2023, continuing a trend that has been going on for over three years.
Most used services
The Fawri, Fawri+, and Fawateer services, enabled by the electronic fund transfer system (EFTS), saw significant growth, cumulatively amounting to 29,499,567 transactions last month. Fawri+ accounted for the majority (92.8%) of EFTS transactions, followed by Fawateer (3.8%) and Fawri (3.4%).
Fawri+ is an almost real-time fund transfer service that allows individuals or entities to transfer funds of up to BD1,000 per day in less than 30 seconds. Fawri is a deferred settlement fund transfer service that allows individuals or entities to transfer any amount within a few hours of the business day, and Fawateer provides real-time bill payments.
The number of transactions completed through Fawri+ in March 2023 increased by 40.70% from the same month last year, amounting to 27,363,899. In terms of the value of usage for each service, Fawri was the leader (72.8%), followed by Fawri+ (24.6%) and Fawateer (2.6%).
Fawri transactions amounted to BD1.86 billion last month, up 8.82% from March 2022, whereas Fawri+ deals added up to a total of BD632.3m. The CBB also presented last month’s record of real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system transactions, where the value of interbank transactions was BD9.26bn, 20% higher than the same month last year.
Data also shows that the value of payment gateway transactions was BD63.20m, and the volume was 1.26m. There has been a 13% year-on-year drop in the volume of ATM withdrawals to 1.149m, with their value sliding by the same amount to BD114.5m.
The data indicates a significant shift in consumer behavior towards cashless transactions in Bahrain, with an increasing number of people opting for electronic fund transfers and contactless payments. The trend is likely to continue as more people become comfortable with the convenience and security of cashless transactions.
The CBB’s data also highlights the growing importance of payment gateway transactions and the need for secure and reliable payment systems. As more businesses move online, payment gateways are becoming increasingly important, enabling businesses to accept payments securely and efficiently.
The data also shows that ATM withdrawals are declining, indicating a reduced reliance on cash in Bahrain. This trend is expected to continue as more people switch to digital payments.
The latest data from the CBB shows a significant increase in cashless transactions in Bahrain, with consumers increasingly opting for contactless payments and electronic fund transfers. The trend is likely to continue, driven by the convenience and security of cash.