Bahrain: The latest nation to lay claim to “fintech hub” status

By Ryan Weeks on Tuesday 29 August 2017

Alternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

NOW Money and Tramonex join Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox.

NOW Money and Tramonex join Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox.

Where isn’t a global fintech hub these days? Count Bahrain among the multitude of claimants. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has announced the first members of its new regulatory sandbox: NOW Money and Tramonex.

The sandbox was launched in June, providing a virtual space for fintechs to test solutions. It is open both to CBB-licensed companies and to other local and foreign firms.

“The Kingdom is ready to be at the forefront of financial innovation and technology as global fintech investment reaches $3.2 billion,” said H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain (EDB). “In addition to the development of the regulatory sandbox, we have a number of further initiatives we expect to be launched in the coming months including a venture capital fund-of-funds.”

The EDB assisted and advised the new members on registering for the sandbox. The CBB issued its Regulatory Sandbox Framework directive earlier this year. This outlines eligibility criteria and filing requirements for would-be members.

Dubai-based NOW Money claims to be the first company in the Gulf region to offer a mobile banking solution to users, including accounts and a range of low-cost global money transfer options for low-income workers.

Tramonex is a business-facing solution, helping companies to process and transfer funds online. Its focus is on facilitating conversion and settlement services to automate cross-border transactions.

“We are pleased to welcome the first two entrants into the regulatory sandbox, in the early stages of the framework’s launch,” said Khalid Hamad, executive director of banking supervision at the CBB. “This initiative highlights the CBB’s continuous efforts as the Kingdom’s single regulator to update and develop the fintech ecosystem and enable industry players to create innovative and forward-looking fintech products while maintaining the overall safety and soundness of the financial system.”

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