With extensive digitisation worldwide, customer needs in terms of financial services are rapidly changing with quick payments and cashless transactions being at the forefront of demands. The renowned application BenefitPay has played a highly significant role in propelling the Kingdom towards being a cashless society and developing its FinTech sector. Farah Baig speaks to the Head of Business Development and Services at The Benefit Company, Ahmed Al-Mahri, to discuss.
BenefitPay was launched in 2017 with a QR payment function in order to serve untapped merchants. Since then, the application has expanded its range of services significantly to include transfers, remittance, tap-and-go payments, fuel payments and more.
Mr. Al-Mahri, who has 15 years of experience in the financial sector, has led the application’s development over the years. “Our services have expanded to support our strategy and address the cashless goals of the Kingdom. Today, BenefitPay has one million registered users of which an estimated 750,000 are active users,” he states.
Being an infrastructure provider in the country, Benefit has fundamentally contributed to the development of financial services in Bahrain and its movement towards a cashless society. “Benefit helps and assists FinTech companies entering the market in terms of their ease of integration and ease of access to our services in order to support their business cases,” he says.
“We would also like to thank the Central Bank of Bahrain for evolving regulations to support those new ideas and new FinTech in a way that protects the customer and develops the ecosystem in the country,” he adds.
Mr. Al-Mahri strongly believes that the FinTech sector in Bahrain will continue to adapt and grow with the introduction of new trends. “We, too, stay informed of trends in other markets and adapt them to fit Bahrain’s culture, needs and population,” he states.
The short-term objectives of Benefit involves improving their services based on new ideas that provide users with an insight into their spending behaviour while addressing their needs. “Everything you see within the app is an outcome of our open dialogue with our customers; we hear them, and then we add and implement,” he says. “As for long-term objectives, we have a three-year strategy that continues to evolve which has many services that we address, not only on the app but overall to improve the ecosystem for financial institutions in Bahrain.”
Due to its ease of use, BenefitPay registered 270 million transactions over the course of the last two years – a figure that is expected to grow with the introduction of new services. “We are now revamping our app with a new look and feel, further amplified by an improved user experience that shall contribute positively towards the adaptation and usage of the app,” he states.
“In addition, for points of sale and venues that are cash-based, we try to find solutions with our partners and our great minds here at Benefit to address them in a simple yet effective manner,” he adds.
Mr. Al-Mahri believes that the talent employed at Benefit has been a contributing factor to the growth of the company. “Over 95 percent of Benefit’s team is Bahraini and I believe that we are very fortunate in terms of the talent we have. Everything you see here is the outcome of great minds working at Benefit,” he says. “I am positive that there are more individuals in the market waiting to be given a chance to showcase their talents and ideas.”
As for his advice for upcoming talents wishing to enter the FinTech sector, Mr. Al-Mahri says: “Always stay up-to-date, always read, and always keep your mind open. There is nothing that is impossible as it relies on the way you execute it. If you focus on addressing a need, you will achieve your goals - this is the key to success for most people.”