Accelerating the development of kingdom’s digital transformation and the FinTech sector, VIVA Bahrain has become the latest big-name contender from the telecom sector to join the fray.
In a bullish presentation the company’s senior executives appeared confident that its cashless app will be a winner and help grow its customer base with a ‘free data’ enticement and a tantalising bonus for expats of sending money ‘back home’ without having to join a queue at the bank or exchange.
Powered by VIVA and its strategic partner SADAD, VIVA Cash has been described as a major new initiative that ‘breaks boundaries between telecom services providers, payments services providers and financial institutions and aims to bring the country one step closer to a cashless society’.
At the event, VIVA Bahrain’s CEO, Ulaiyan Al Wetaid said: “With Bahrain leading the digital transformation in the region, and establishing itself on the global map as a regional Fintech hub, we at VIVA Bahrain have made bringing Bahrain’s digital vision to reality a priority. And today, in keeping with our promise to support Bahrain’s digital future, we are excited to launch our latest mobile payment solution, ‘VIVA Cash’, in collaboration with SADAD Bahrain, the kingdom’s FinTech leader, licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain.”
Now available for free on the Apple Store and Google Play Store, users of VIVA Cash can enjoy shopping and dining at more than 800 merchants across Bahrain and access an international remittance service embedded within the application that ‘guarantees fast, safe and easy money transfers’. Zero remittance fees are offered for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines for a limited time too.
VIVA Cash is described by the company as a ‘ground-breaking’ new application offering consumers the very latest secure and convenient digital mobile wallet for every day payments.
The announcement was made at a glitzy ‘exclusive’ gathering at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay’s Manama Hall attended by the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications Eng. Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), Shaikh Ali bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, chairman of SADAD, and members of VIVA management.
Making it all the more convenient and easy to use, users of VIVA Cash can deposit money into their account either by securely transferring money from an existing debit card through the application, or by topping up with cash at any of SADAD’s 750 machines around Bahrain.
To celebrate the launch, every deposit made by customers will be matched with 10 per cent more from VIVA for a limited period, giving users the chance to earn up to BD3 extra credit in their account.
Back in January, arch rivals Batelco teamed up with regional payment solutions provider and FinTech enabler Arab Financial Services (AFS) to launch bWallet, its new digital mobile wallet and payment solution, again at an ‘exclusive’ event at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay.
Batelco Bahrain CEO Mohamed Bubashait and AFS CEO B. Chandrasekhar officially launched the service at the event attended by invited VIPs and the directors and members of management of both companies.
bWallet supports Batelco and AFS’s efforts in ‘revolutionising the way people shop’ by ‘enhancing customer experience’ through innovative ways to pay and transfer money. All mobile users, regardless of operator, can benefit from this FinTech technology, which can also be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play Store.
bWallet features include QR and contactless payment methods and wallet-to-wallet transfers.
Now all eyes are on Zain Bahrain, to see whether the operator which entered Bahrain’s market back in 2003 as the first company to break the telecoms monopoly, has the customer demand and taste for FinTech too.
Senior management recently stepped into client-facing roles for a day, interacting with customers at Zain Experience Stores across the country. The annual event aims to give the company’s directors and managers ‘first hand insight’ into customer needs and expectations.
The GulfWeekly’s Whisperer is checking whether a hall at a certain five star hotel has been booked for an ‘exclusive’ event soon.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
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