Bahrain’s Batelco expands into the fintech sector


Bahraini telco Batelco has expanded into the financial technology (fintech) sector, it was announced on Sunday.
The company obtained the necessary licenses from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the new entity, to be called Batelco Financial Services, will provide consumers and small businesses with services such as digital wallet creation, cards issuance, bank accounts aggregation and bank account payments initiation on behalf of clients and third parties.
Digital banking and fintech services have become increasingly popular in the GCC. Saudi Arabia gave licenses last month to two new digital banks, one of them is owned by telecom giant, STC.
Last week, Kuwait’s Boubyan Group announced the launch of Nomo bank in the UK, as competition increases in the digital Islamic banking sector. CEO Adel Al-Majed claimed in a Twitter post on Wednesday that Nomo will be the world’s first Islamic digital bank, despite Zurich Capital Funds Group in April announcing the launch of a new lender branded as RIZQ / BARAKA, which is claimed would be the first bank to provide all banking services online and according to Islamic law.
In the UAE, a survey by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) last October, showed that 70 percent of respondents said they are actively searching for a new bank, and 87 percent said they would be willing to open an account with a branchless digital-only lender.

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