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GCC sees growing trend for fintech platforms amid COVID-19 crisis

GCC sees growing trend for fintech platforms amid COVID-19 crisis
David Parker - co-chief Investment officer for the Financial Services sector at EDB

Mubasher: The GCC region is set for a big leap in the use of financial technology applications amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region witnessing a 70% growth in the use of contactless payments, according to a recent Mastercard survey.

About 70% of survey respondents are currently using contactless payments, with 81% of which revealed that they will continue to use them after the crisis ends, new research by the global payments and technology company showed.

"This new research from Mastercard shows the region's growing appetite for new technologies such as contactless payments, and that being digital-first is no longer optional,” David Parker, co-chief investment officer for the financial services sector at Bahrain Economic Development Board, said in a statement on Wednesday.

This is something that has long been encouraged by the Central Bank of Bahrain through initiatives like the regulatory sandbox, which allows FinTech firms to experiment with new technologies in a testbed environment,” Parker pointed out.

Bahrain has previously taken an approach towards financial technology in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The national electronic wallet BenefitPay revealed a 1,257% increase in the number of remittances through its Fawri+ service during March with a value of about BHD 103 million ($273 million).

The financial technology market in MENA is expected to reach a record high of $2.5 billion by 2022, according to industry experts.