BFC Payments, the newly formed payments solutions and fintech business of currency exchange pioneer BFC Group Holdings, in partnership with UnionPay International (UPI), has marked the official launch of its innovative digital payroll solution ‘BFC Pay’. The occasion was commemorated at Bahrain FinTech Bay in the presence of Anthony Langley (General Manager, BFC Payments), Hany Al Deeb (Regional Country Manager – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain & Iraq, UnionPay International), Khalid Saad (CEO, Bahrain Fintech Bay), Ali Arab (General Manager, GPS), Hani Awachi (CEO, Amthal Group), Rahul Bhalla (Chief Executive, Invita) and Gopakumar Bhargavan (Group Head of Business Development & Operations, BFC Group Holdings).

Anthony Langley, General Manager of BFC Payments, said “I am pleased to officially announce the launch of our innovative payments service – BFC Pay – which offers employers an end-to- end digital solution for their payroll requirements. Through this service we aim to foster financial inclusion across Bahrain’s unbanked workers community, supporting the Kingdom’s important wage protection initiative. Our growing payroll solutions service is ready to address the specific needs of these individuals who lack access to financial services options.”

The introduction of the Wages Protection System (WPS) by Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) and Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) means that all employers are mandated to pay their employees digitally through a WPS compliant payroll service provider.

Regulated by the CBB, BFC Pay is a convenient system that enables employers to pay wages digitally and securely to unbanked, blue-collar workers and more generally to the working population in Bahrain. Wages can securely be uploaded onto payroll cards or wallets through an online portal or at any BFC Bahrain branch and designated CDMs. The technology will help improve company efficiencies and cut down operational time and expenses.

With UnionPay’s First Payroll Prepaid Card to be launched locally, the partnership marks UPI’s entry into Bahrain’s market. UPI’s strong global presence means workers can enjoy safe, reliable and efficient payment. Both the companies aim to continuously bring improvements and alternatives to the local payment market and address the specific needs of the consumers.

The new digital payment product allows unbanked employees to conveniently withdraw funds from any BFC branch or designated CDMs around Bahrain, offering them secure and easy access to their wages. Furthermore, through the BFC Payments mobile app, cardholders can view their statements, check their account balance as well as transfer and receive payment from other BFC Payments app users.

BFC Payments is affiliated with a financial leader in the region – BFC Group – that includes a fully licensed bank in the UK and an international network of money exchanges with over 135 branches across five countries. The history of the companies that are incorporated under the Group date back over 100 years, with Bahrain Financing Company (BFC) first trading in Bahrain as a gold bullion and currency exchange.

Ebrahim Nonoo, Managing Director & CEO of BFC Group said: “BFC Group has a long history of serving the blue-collar workforce of Bahrain along with the wider community and meeting their needs for safe and secure remittances and we are proud to now offer them a tool for financial inclusion through BFC Payments.”

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In line with the vision of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the CBB to move towards a digital economy, BFC Payments works with leading international and local partners to develop disruptive technologies and promote digitisation in Bahrain’s payment market.

Khalid Saad, CEO of Bahrain Fintech Bay, said “The theme of financial inclusion will be one of the main drivers of Bahrain’s FinTech ecosystem moving forward. As the country rolls out the Wage Protection System, BFC Payments through its innovative solutions will play a key role in helping bring the unbanked into the ecosystem. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Founding Partner BFC on this key milestone.”

“BFC Pay is the first of many products we are launching to strengthen our commitment to the rapid digital transformation of Bahrain’s economy and solidify the Kingdom as the region’s fintech hub. We aim to lead the market with our expanding fintech offerings that include multi- currency prepaid travel cards and digital wallets.” said Langley.

BFC Pay is available to all companies with a quick and simple registration process. Employers can register online by visiting the corporate portal section of the BFC Payments website – www.bfcpayments.com or by getting in touch with a BFC Payments business development officer on +973 1700 4548.

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