Changing Trends in Payment Solutions

Gulf Insider speaks to Abdulla Salman Al-Ghatam, CEO of SADAD, on the payment industry in Bahrain.
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What is the story behind SADAD’s inception?

We recognized that there was a gap in the financial industry, especially in the payment sector. I have a banking background so I was already familiar with payments and knew that to be successful I needed to look for unmet requirements in the market.

When I first came to know about this technology, I knew I had to get this in Bahrain. We asked around and found out more about this technology and the ways of using it.

We signed our first contract and started our business with 50 kiosks and we put up 300 in 6 weeks. Our main focus was the trust of customers and we made the system so easy that anyone can use it without difficulty. We were certain that if we have the right product, people will believe in it.

How is the competition in the payments market in Bahrain?

We were the only ones in the beginning and it got more interesting when other companies came into the industry. We are still the leaders here and we believe that we can only grow when there is competition.

When we were beginners, we went down to the market and understood what people wanted. It is that start which gave us this position in the market.

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What are the key trends that will impact the payment industry in the coming years?

QR was available in Bahrain for quite some time but I see the next trend in the market is going to be payments using (Near Field Communication) NFC. Acquirers and issues, even the technology giants (Apple, Google, etc.) are getting prepared for the new easy trend. This will shift the micro-payments methodology, in Bahrain in the near future.

Can you tell us more regarding “Auto Payments” in SADAD Application?

SADAD has the highest level of security when it comes to the payment industry. We are PCI-DSS compliant, which means that we can save the credit/debit cards of the customers in our compliant infrastructure. Our customers can then save their payment information and at the end of every month we will send their updated bills and they can pay everything by just entering their PIN number in the most secure way possible.

What are SADAD’s future plans in FinTech?

We are trying to shift people to a cashless society. People still love to pay with cash. But with the new generation, the change is happening.

Currently, we are trying to facilitate the day to day payments of our customers. We have huge growth in mobile app users, around 300 percent, and we are also working closely with the government to reduce the use of cash in payments linked to them.

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Tell us more about the Sadded payment solution.

Sadded payment deals with electronic invoicing. It is a solution that lets business owners e-invoice the customer even before the product is delivered. The customer gets a message with a link that takes them directly to our payment channel and they can pay with their debit card.

This service is developing well and more businesses are using it for invoicing today.

What is the concept of e-Gift cards in the SADAD application?

If you have the application, you’ll notice that there is something unique every week. The e-Gift card was launched last year and it is the first Blockchain gift card developed in Bahrain. You can use this feature to pay anyone’s bill or you can gift it to another person. You will soon find it being used in more places.

We have also launched a service to add loyalty cards in the application.

What are you looking forward to in 2020?

We have attained success in the country and we are fully ready to expand it outside Bahrain. It will be happening this year.

 

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