Customers at Bahrain-headquartered Ithmaar Bank will soon be able to use just their fingerprint and pin number to take money out of cash points, dispensing with the need to carry their bank cards with them.
The technological solution has been developed by a Bahraini fintech firm Eazy Financial Services, and is set to be the Gulf region’s first biometric payment system. It is due to be launched in phases from the first quarter of 2019.
“Payments stand out as the single largest driver for the biometrics market. We are driving biometric verification in the region, which is the future of the financial industry,” said the fintech’s CEO Khaled Al-Ahli.
“Going forward, biometrics for financial products and services are expected to represent one third of the total market for biometric solutions in 2020,” he said.
The technology is based on an Automated Fingerprint Identification System which stores and analyzes fingerprint data and is used by government agencies and security services around the world.
The project was backed by Tamkeen — a government agency tasked with supporting the private sector and provides funding to start-ups — as well as support from the Economic Development Board and the Central Bank of Bahrain. It is part of wider efforts by the Gulf country to strengthen its reputation as a regional hub for fintech innovation.
“Bahrain’s forward-thinking regulatory approach provides an attractive environment for fintech – particularly in areas such as Islamic finance and payments. We look forward to welcoming more home-grown initiatives such as this,” said Bahrain’s EDB chief executive, Khalid Al-Rumaihi.