The rapid growth of Fintech innovation and transition to mobile services have greatly disrupted established players in the Financial Services sector. This has paved the way for new entrants to reach previously untapped customer segments and offer them access to products and services that are efficient, secure, and convenient.
Continued investment into this growing industry has seen the introduction of new concepts and novel approaches that are changing the way we all do business. Global investment in Fintech companies is at $37.9B according to KPMG’s 2019 Pulse of Fintech Report. The growth and innovation in this industry means that the cost of transactions is driven downwards and less agile service providers are seeing their profit margins erode. The reality however is that the biggest beneficiaries of these new technologies may be the unbanked population of the world.
Innovation for financial inclusion is a growing global initiative with large segments of the population earning a subsistence income with little or no access to financial services such as a bank account, basic savings account or even credit. According to the latest Global Findex Report, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked. Digitisation is key to any nation’s efforts in moving to a cashless society, and catering to the financially excluded is a vital part of this transformation.
The future of Fintech is to create a space where payments, remittances, and international transfers move seamlessly and are accessible by everyone regardless of socioeconomic status. FinTech has evolved to perform a much more strategic and focused role in today’s hyper connected society.
In Bahrain, we find ourselves on the leading edge of this Fintech revolution and are fortunate in being the most established financial center in the Gulf region. Bahrain is amongst the leaders in the GCC in pursuit of transforming itself into a digital economy largely thanks to its forward-thinking government. The establishment of Bahrain Fintech Bay and the introduction of the Regulatory Sandbox are prime showcases of the country’s readiness to digitise.
The set infrastructure and a diverse population with a growing number of expatriate labor force makes Bahrain well placed to not only be a leader in Fintech but also a champion of financial inclusion in the region. The regulatory system in place provides the right environment to develop some of the most innovative solutions.
One of our primary goals at BFC Payments is to help serve the thousands of individuals who are presently underserved by the traditional players in Bahrain’s financial services sector. Technology and innovation can be used to develop new financial services that are affordable and accessible, drawing on our expertise in serving this customer segment for over 100 years through our sister company Bahrain Financing Company.
FinTech heralds an unstoppable wave of innovation but, equally as important, it is a catalyst for inclusion and the betterment of communities both within Bahrain and internationally.