Tap Payments grows client base by 60% in a year as global firms seek to tap into Gulf’s $29bn e-commerce boom

  • GCC-based fintech, launches in Bahrain to expand its regional operational hubs in the MENA region.
  • Enables 80% of the region’s consumer payments through highly adopted country specific local payment networks with a unified relationship, technology and clearing process.
  • Resolves the challenges of the region’s fragmented payment networks so international players may unlock the true potential of MENA’s ecommerce market.

The GCC-based fintech company, Tap Payments, has launched its Bahrain hub in 2020. Over the past year, the company has onboarded around 30,000 new merchants across the region. This is a result of the company’s innovative solutions that can cater to regional and international players looking to break into the GCC booming e-commerce market, currently worth an estimated $29 billion. 

Tap Payments is serving merchants worldwide due to its capacity to tailor payment solutions in the MENA region with its multidimensional approach that addresses payment clearing, product, technology, relationship, and the regulatory environment. The company connects players around the world to the region through its payment infrastructure by facilitating connection to the highly adopted local payment networks in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.

In 2020, Tap Payments set up operations in Bahrain to take advantage of its advanced financial services sector, best value operating model and progressive legislations. Bahrain is home to the region’s oldest and most established banking and financial services sector, with over 350 financial institutions. The sector, which accounts for 17.3% of non-oil GDP in the Kingdom, benefits from a stable, predictable, and forward looking regulatory and business environment. Financial services continue to be a key contributor to Bahrain’s economy and will play a critical role in the Kingdom’s economic recovery plan which was announced in October 2021.

There are currently five GCC country specific local payment networks and another two in Egypt, in addition to the internationally known payments networks. This means that it is an expensive process for e-commerce companies to expand their offering regionally. Tap Payments provides the ease of doing business in the region without the hassle of setting up offices, licenses, and bank accounts in each country due to its multidimensional approach.

Tap Payments’ system unifies the commercial and technical aspects of each local payment network so that businesses may instantly accept payments from across the region. The company’s solutions include a payment gateway that accepts payments online and on mobile, as well as peer-to-peer payment request solutions so businesses can send payment links to customers.

“We are pleased with the growth rate of our operations in Bahrain, thanks to the best-in-class business and regulatory environment. We are keen to operate under a developed regulatory environment that attracts financial innovation. We appreciate the welcoming environment that the EDB has put in place to attract our investment in Bahrain and value the role of the CBB in guiding us through establishing a healthy regulatory setup that supports our financial activities in the country. In less than a year, our local team was able to secure a significant number of clients in Bahrain and the wider region.” said Ali Abulhasan, Co-Founder and CEO of Tap Payments.

Abulhasan said: “With our operating model, we are filling a region-wide payment solutions market gap for any size of business with a special angle focused on SMEs, at a very competitive value proposition. Tap Payments’ business model is profitable and less risky. Our solution means customers can buy products online from another country in the GCC while still using their home country’s payment method and currency. These local payment networks make up a huge percent of online payments in most of the GCC countries – 65% in Bahrain, 80% in Kuwait and 70% in Saudi Arabia. So, businesses need to consider how critical their reach to the markets is and no longer downplay their impact.”

Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director – Investment Origination at Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), said: “We are delighted to see Tap Payments’ rapid growth in Bahrain, benefiting from our strong, agile and pioneering financial services ecosystem. By working with companies like Tap Payments, we continue to encourage growth in e-commerce, a sector that is expected to reach $50 billion across the GCC by 2025. The young, tech-savvy population we have here will supply Tap Payments’ new hub with all the local talent it needs. In fact, over 65% of the financial services workforce in the Kingdom are Bahrainis.”

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