Twelve organisations representing a cross-section of banking, finance and retail players scooped as many trophies at the Prepaid: Middle East Awards ceremony in Dubai on 18 March.

Douglas Blakey, Group Editor, Consumer Finance, Timetric said that the broad span of winners representing a wide range of sectors and territories indicates the region’s readiness to make waves, globally.

The awards ceremony, held to recognise developments made and performance achieved over the past year, was part of the Prepaid Summit Middle East 2015. Visa was on-board as the premier event sponsor for the sixth year running.

In the UAE, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Emirates Islamic Bank and Majid Al Futtaim Finance each bagged an award, and UAE-based Etihad Airways went home with the Editor’s Special Award for optimisation of customer service in the Wallet Plus multi-currency programme. “Wallet Plus is a first of its kind in the region, Etihad has contributed genuine innovation and taken the customer experience to a class-leading new level,” Blakey said.

Meanwhile, more than half the awards were presented to regional contenders including Africa-based entries, including Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Bank AlJazira, Banque Libano Francaise, Commercial Bank of Qatar, CSC Bank, Kuwait Finance House and United Bank of Africa from the Cameroon.

Rabih Sfeir was awarded the Personality of the Year Award for best individual contribution to the industry. Judges recognised Rabih’s leadership of C3CARD – managing solutions for more than 2,000 clients. Founded in 2007, C3 CARD has enjoyed very fast growth, recording business volume of more than €1bn and revenue of nearly €5m. The success of C3CARD resulted in Edenred acquiring a 50% interest in C3 CARD in May 2014.

“Prepaid in the greater region has experienced incredible growth over the six years. We are now seeing the fruit of the energy behind that growth as specific countries witness the contribution that Prepaid can make to GDP once focus and commitment is put behind the sector by organisations armed with both foresight.

“This is a ‘sea change’, the tipping point that will take the sector to even greater heights,” added Blakey.

The Awards Panel received a record number of nominations from over 50 institutions, including entries from Algeria, Cameroon and Burkina Faso in Africa; Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, and the UAE.

“It is indeed an exciting time to be involved in a sector as all the nominations play a vital role in the Summit and in the global industry, acting as a constant driving force to encourage sector players to energise innovation and development,” Blakey said.

He concluded that the one-day conference, sponsored by Visa, one of the world’s leading electronic payments networks attracted more than 150 delegates and has become a point of reference for the industry and the most authoritative recognition of industry excellence.

In addition to the premier sponsors Visa, the event was sponsored by i2C, Tuxedo Money Solutions, Atam Worldwide Kiosk Solutions, Abba Electronics, Entrust Datacard, Ixaris Technologies, Matica Technologies, Majid Al Futtaim Finance, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait and Commercial Bank of Dubai.

Planning is now underway for the 7th annual Prepaid Summit and Awards Middle East, scheduled for Dubai in March 2016.
To discuss speaker or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Vicki Greenwood, head of events, Timetric email

Full list of Awards and winners

Innovation- Rewards & loyalty
Emirates Islamic Bank

Innovation- Product
United Bank of Africa – Cameroon

Marketing Campaign- Best use of segmentation
Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait

Marketing Campaign
Commercial Bank of Qatar

Open Loop
Bank AlJazira

CSC Bank – Roadster Diner & Zaatar w Zeit

Prepaid Service Provider
Majid Al Futtaim Finance

Corporate/Government Programme
Commercial Bank of Dubai – Al Fardan Exchange Travel Card

Prepaid Mobile App/Wallet
Kuwait Finance House

Financial Inclusion Award
Banque Libano Francaise

Editor’s Special Award
Etihad Airways

Personality of the Year
Rabih Sfeir