200th EditionBahrain

Benefit: Elevating digital transformation in Bahrain

Gulf Insider talks to Benefit’s Chief Executive, Abdulwahed AlJanahi on the newly launched remittance services, exciting new services to look forward to, and vision for Bahrain’s financial sector.

Benefit is Bahrain’s leading regional player in electronic financial transactions and FinTech solutions. The company has been unlocking vast opportunities for nearly 25 years by powering effortless payment solutions for all individuals and businesses in the Kingdom. Benefit has won many prominent local and international awards such as the e-Government Excellence Award 2021 and the Best Smart Application Award 2021 and many more.

As Bahrain’s leading regional player in electronic financial transactions, how do you aim to improve efficiency with your new digital remittance service?

The remittance service is something that we’ve been working on for some time as we have big numbers of expats here in Bahrain. Our goal in everything we do is to make things easy for the public.

With the remittance, we have started with Bahrain Financing Company (BFC), but there will be a number of money exchange companies on the app in the near future for the purpose of providing the customer with the most convenient services. They can compare prices and rates on the app – all within the convenience of their own home, office, or wherever they may be. We also aim to provide the best service even in terms of speed and delivery of the money.

Ultimately, our goal is to reach a level where you can easily transfer money even when you travel abroad. We want to empower and facilitate the digitalization of money transfer and make the process as efficient and user-friendly as possible. Apart from benefitting from the reduced costs, they get the convenience of the exact same service as if they visited the branch through the app.

Our aim is to make it a lifestyle. Users won’t have to carry cash or cards, or even their Sadeem plastic cards – we want everything to be on the app.

Abdulwahed AlJanahi and Charlie Cooksey at Benefit HQ

How is sending money via this service different from visiting a remittance outlet or via the remittance’s own app?

It is readily available. We are providing users with a convenient service where instead of doing the job manually with a long process – they can do it electronically and it is time efficient. They spend less time and less money.

Once you open the app and go to remittance – you will have a number of rates and different providers, and then it’s your choice.

You’ll have everything available in your hand, instead of calling or looking at the website or visiting the branch.

The BenefitPay app provides many services from quick money transfers and bill payments and even easy petrol payment. Any additional services we should look forward to?

One of our plans for the next three years is to make BenefitPay a marketplace where we have all the services in one place in line with our digital transformation strategy.

In line with our three national priorities which we are working on towards a digital and cashless society, we’re aiming for sustainable innovation.

In terms of strategy, we are focusing on our original pillars – connecting financial transactions, customer information depository, and business outsourcing.

We are also working to enhance our services and make credit reports available on BenefitPay. Instead of going to the bank or going through the long process, it would be readily available on the app in an instant.

In addition, we’re working on credit access and all things related to open banking. As a technical service provider, we want to help financial institutions and become a gateway for open banking in the Kingdom.

We also aim for internationalization, whereby we feel that a number of services can be exported and others can learn from what we have done.

With our Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certification and authority, we eventually want everything to be endorsed digitally. With this certification, we’re able to provide smart contracts for smart agreements, or smart invoicing. We have been given the license by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) for trusted service provider (TSP) for providing certificate authority for organizations who wants to move and exchange documents digitally.

What’s your vision for Bahrain’s financial sector in the next five years?

The most important thing is that you have a very proactive regulator. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is very proactive. They are very much into supporting and encouraging financial technology and encouraging towards digital transformation – that has helped us a lot and I think we are moving in the right direction.

We are heading towards economic and financial recovery and there are very good initiatives that are beneficial to enhancing this kind of recovery. The sky is not even a limit at this point.


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