Bahrain will lead the world’s nations in consumer adoption of real-time payments by 2027. The projection is according to the 2023 Prime Time for Real- Time report, published by ACI Worldwide, which sees the Middle East as fast becoming the global hotspot for the real-time payments revolution sweeping the globe.

It says, by 2027, every Bahraini citizen, now 1.5 million, is forecast to make an average of 83.3 real-time transactions per month (TPHM), the highest level of RTP consumer adoption, compared to 23 in 2022.

The number makes Bahrain a world leader, ahead of Brazil (51.8), Thailand (43.6), and its immediate regional competitors, Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In the 2022 ranking, Bahrain (19.1) holds second place globally for real-time transactions per month after Thailand, with a TPHM of 23.0.

In the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, Bahrain leads. The report highlights that real-time payments are “strongly embedded” in the everyday lives of consumers and businesses in Bahrain.

With the support of the Central Bank enabling easier use through digital apps like BenefitPay, real-time payments are helping promote financial inclusion and increase financial stability across the economy, leading to stronger economic growth.

Meanwhile, the total real-time transactions in Bahrain are projected to grow from 276 million in 2022 to 1.3 billion in 2027, representing an annual growth rate of 35.5%, outpacing any other market in the Gulf.

According to the report, the Middle East is the fastest-growing real-time payments market globally, with transactions expected to grow from $675 million (BD 254, 484,517) in 2022 to a staggering $2.6 billion (BD 980,236,660) by 2027.

“In 2022, countries like Thailand, Brazil, and Bahrain took the lead in real-time transactions, and it is having a profound impact on how they conduct their financial affairs.” “This year’s report highlights how consumer and business adoption of real-time payments accelerates when the conditions are right,” said Craig Ramsey, the global head of real-time payments and banking at ACI Worldwide.

“Bahrain’s government and Central Bank support, as well as its innovative digital infrastructure, have made it an ideal environment for business and consumers to take advantage of real-time payments,” said Santhosh Rao, Senior Vice President, MEASA, ACI Worldwide.