LuLu Exchange Bahrain has partnered with Arab Financial Services (AFS) to advance cash displacement in Bahrain. AFS operates as a digital payment solutions provider and fintech enabler in the Middle East and Africa. It is also a leading merchant acquirer in Bahrain.

Lulu Exchange Bahrain customers can now conduct transactions through the BPay app or their debit cards, at LuLu’s Bahraini branches. Customers can also use their BPay app to pay for international remittances via the BPay QR payment service. In addition, customers can also buy foreign currency through the settlement service.

Amira Ismail, Head of Merchant Acquiring, Bahrain, AFS said: “We are constantly looking for ways to grow digital payments acceptance in Bahrain. This is in line with the evolving needs and expectations of today’s customers. Today, with AFS’s market-leading PoS acceptance systems now available at all LuLu Exchange branches across the Kingdom of Bahrain we are giving access to more customer-friendly, digital payment methods for greater convenience, security and efficiency of payment.”

Edison Fernandez, General Manager of LuLu Exchange Bahrain added: “Our collaboration with AFS aims to provide our valued customers with an efficient and seamless payment experience. This also reinforces our position as a leading financial services provider in the country. With this move, LuLu Exchange Bahrain is set to revolutionise the way customers send money and buy foreign currency. This makes it faster, safer, and more convenient than ever before.”

Owned and operated by AFS, BPay is a secure, easy-to-use, and fully featured payments app. It is part of a Kingdom-wide initiative to make Bahrain cashless. And it supports the Kingdom of Bahrain’s government initiatives to drive digital transformation. Users can use BPay to purchase goods or services, to send and receive money peer-to-peer.

BPay is directly integrated into AFS Point of Sale (PoS) terminals using APIs for merchants and corporations. For consumers, BPay is accessed by smartphone users through a digital app available.
Regulated by The Central Bank of Bahrain, AFS is majority-owned by Bank ABC.

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Cash displacement in Bahrain: GlobalData

Cash usage is gradually declining in Bahrain.

According to GlobalData’s Payment Instrument Analytics, cash usage declined by 9.6% in 2020 and 5.2% in 2021. In December 2021, contactless card transactions accounted for 71.0% of overall payment card transaction volume, 44.7% of transaction value.

To help drive this trend, the central bank increased the contactless transaction limit to BHD50 ($132.98) effective from March 2020.

Mobile wallets are also gaining prominence. The value of mobile wallet transactions increased from BHD2.4bn ($6.3 billion) in 2020 to BHD4.9bn in 2021.

The Central Bank of Bahrain has introduced various measures to boost electronic payments. This includes ensuring all POS terminals are EMV-compliant. Companies are also mandated to pay wages electronically, via bank accounts and prepaid cards.