Ithmaar Bank and Eazy Financial Services team for biometric payment network
Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank and Eazy Financial Services announced plans to launch the region’s first biometric payment network.
The initiative has the financial backing of Bahrain’s public authority Tamkeen, and the support of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).
When implemented, Ithmaar Bank customers will no longer be required to use their bank cards at ATMs. Instead, they will simply be able to use their fingerprint along with their PIN to process financial transactions. “This provides a simpler, more secure way to process financial transactions than ever before,” the network organisers say.
The network will be available in phases for Ithmaar Bank customers as early as Q1 2019. In future, this may also include the point of sale (PoS) terminals.
The platform, developed by Eazy Financial Services, is built on an automated fingerprint identification system. Paytech and ATM firm NCR will help Eazy to develop the necessary payment infrastructure to serve participating financial institutions in Bahrain and over time expand to target the Middle East region.
Eazy Financial Services CEO, Khaled Al Ahli, notes that “payments stand out as the single largest driver for the biometrics market”. He estimates that biometrics for financial products and services will represent one third of the total market for biometric solutions in 2020.
“With this announcement, Ithmaar Bank and Eazy Financial Services are truly showcasing Bahrain as a hub for innovation, specifically in the financial services industry,” states Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO of EDB.
“This partnership comes in line with our strategy to encourage innovation that supports high value job creation in the Kingdom. Bahrain’s forward-thinking regulatory approach provides an attractive environment for fintech – particularly in areas such as Islamic finance and payments. We look forward to welcoming more home-grown initiatives such as this.”
Tamkeen, whose two primary objectives are fostering the development and growth of enterprises, and providing support to enhance the productivity and training of the national workforce, also praises the initiative. “We believe Ithmaar Bank and Eazy are both well ahead of the curve,” says Tamkeen’s chief executive, Dr. Ebrahim Janahi. “This strategic initiative will result in a major positive change in the Kingdom’s economy and capital market.”
CBB has something to say about the project too. “This very forward-looking partnership is proof that fintech initiatives are delivering tangible, real-world results – ahead of similar initiatives across the region – while maintaining the overall safety and soundness of the financial system in Bahrain,” comments CBB’s executive director, Khalid Hamad.