Following the launch of its Bahrain office two years ago, the fintech company Tap Payments has expanded its client base by 60 per cent as international interest in the GCC e-commerce market intensifies.
Since the launch of its Bahrain office in 2020, Tap Payments has onboarded 30,000 new merchants who are interested in utilising Tap Payment’s tailored payment solutions to tap into the region’s promising e-commerce market; which is currently valued at $29billion.
Merchants worldwide have turned to the fintech’s services due to its capacity to tailor payment solutions in the MENA region with a multidimensional approach that addresses payment clearing, product, technology, relationship, and the regulatory environment.
The company connects global merchants to the region through its payment infrastructure by facilitating connection to the local payment networks in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.
The payments environment in Bahrain
Bahrain facilitates the region’s oldest and most established financial sector, being home to over 350 financial institutions. For an economy that derives a considerable proportion of its GDP from oil, the Kingdom’s financial sector accounts for 17.3 per cent of its GDP. In this light, it is clear how financial services will continue to be a key contributor to Bahrain’s economy and will contribute towards the Kingdom’s economic recovery plan; announced in October 2021.
There are currently a total of seven country-specific local payment networks across the GCC and Egypt, in addition to the internationally known payments networks, meaning that it’s often an expensive process for e-commerce companies to expand their offering regionally.
Tap Payments’ system unifies the commercial and technical aspects of each local payment network so that businesses may accept payments from another region. The company’s solutions include a payment gateway that accepts payments online and on mobile, as well as peer-to-peer payment request solutions so businesses can send payment links to customers.
“We are pleased with the growth rate of our operations in Bahrain, thanks to the best-in-class business and regulatory environment,” said Ali Abulhasan, Co-Founder and CEO of Tap Payments. “We are keen to operate under a developed regulatory environment that attracts financial innovation. We appreciate the welcoming environment that the EDB has put in place to attract our investment in Bahrain and value the role of the CBB in guiding us through establishing a healthy regulatory setup that supports our financial activities in the country. In less than a year, our local team was able to secure a significant number of clients in Bahrain and the wider region.
“With our operating model, we are filling a region-wide payment solutions market gap for any size of business with a special angle focused on SMEs, at a very competitive value proposition. Tap Payments’ business model is profitable and less risky. Our solution means customers can buy products online from another country in the GCC while still using their home country’s payment method and currency.
“These local payment networks make up a huge per cent of online payments in most of the GCC countries – 65 per cent in Bahrain, 80 per cent in Kuwait and 70 per cent in Saudi Arabia. So, businesses need to consider how critical their reach to the markets is and no longer downplay their impact.”
Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director – Investment Origination at Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), added: “We are delighted to see Tap Payments’ rapid growth in Bahrain, benefiting from our strong, agile and pioneering financial services ecosystem. By working with companies like Tap Payments, we continue to encourage growth in e-commerce, a sector that is expected to reach $50billion across the GCC by 2025. The young, tech-savvy population we have here will supply Tap Payments’ new hub with all the local talent it needs. In fact, over 65 per cent of the financial services workforce in the Kingdom are Bahrainis.”