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AFS - Arab Financial Services - Bahrain
Al Jazeera Shipping Company Adopts Al Rateb, the Kingdom’s First Digital Payroll Solution
December 15, 2019
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Sunday, 15 December - Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Al Jazeera Shipping Company (AJS), one of the largest marine operators in the Gulf region, has enrolled in Al Rateb, the first digital payroll solution and wage protection scheme in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Al Rateb allows employers to pay wages to unbanked workers digitally and was rolled out earlier this year by Arab Financial Services (AFS), the region’s leading Fintech enabler and payment services provider, and Al Salam Bank-Bahrain (ASBB), the pioneering Shari’a-compliant bank in the Kingdom.

AJS, which has been active in the maritime business serving the offshore and oil industry for over 45 years, becomes the first offshore marine services provider to adopt a wage protection scheme, giving its unbanked employees access to convenient and secure financial services.
 
AFS CEO Mr. B Chandrasekhar said: “AFS’ Al Rateb solution is a financial inclusion offering that, in line with the vision of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain to move towards a digital, cashless society, banks the unbanked. We are delighted to welcome Al Jazeera Shipping Company to the growing list of corporates across the Kingdom who are rapidly adopting our solution and enjoying its many benefits. With Al Rateb, we are enabling a typically underserved population giving them access to financial services tools that are convenient, affordable, secure and simple to use.”
 
Al Jazeera Shipping Co. W.L.L. General Manager, Hasan Ali Hasan Mahmood said: “This is the first time a digital wage protection system for the unbanked has been used in the maritime industry and its benefits have been well-received by all. We are extremely pleased with the services provided by Al Rateb to our unbanked seafarer workforce, as it has helped our staff manage their finances instantly and provides them with peace of mind.”
 
Al Rateb is a convenient and simple wage protection system for the unbanked community that allows employers to securely upload wages and benefits onto payroll cards through an online portal that is configured with their own payroll systems. Cardholders can withdraw funds at any ATM, transfer funds globally through AFS’s remittance service and use Point of Sale (POS) terminals locally or abroad. Alongside this, a dedicated Al Rateb mobile ATM van moves between locations across the Kingdom of Bahrain providing employees with easy access to an ATM machine. Cardholders can also access financial services, including statements, interactive dashboards, 24/7 customer care and multi-lingual customer support. Thousands of workers already have their wages paid through Al Rateb, which is available to all employers, regardless of their workforce size.
 
Al Salam Bank-Bahrain Deputy CEO, Mr. Anwar Murad said: “Al Salam Bank is driven by a commitment to deliver innovative banking solutions to our valued customers. Al Rateb provides a full suite of modern banking services to cater for a previously under-served segment of the market. The offering combines the latest in digital technologies with all the benefits of a traditional banking service to offer convenience and security to employers and employees. We look forward to serving the requirements of Al Jazeera Shipping Company in a tailored manner through this first-to-market banking solution.”
 
With more than 30 years of experience, AFS serves over 75 clients across the financial sector in more than 20 countries. AFS is owned by 37 banks and financial institutions and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The company offers innovative and end-to-end payment services and solutions that span card processing, merchant acquiring, Fintech, and a state-of-the-art value-added services suite.
 
AFS has introduced significantly disruptive and cutting-edge Fintech solutions in recent years including mobile wallets, payroll solutions and digital banking products: In 2018, AFS pioneered bwallet to the region – the Kingdom of Bahrain’s first mobile wallet to facilitate peer-to-peer and cashless transactions. Today, bwallet has established itself as the market leader with a significant user and merchant footprint across Bahrain. In the Sultanate of Oman, and in collaboration with the leading telecommunications company and a banking partner, AFS launched eFloos in 2019. eFloos is the first-of-its-kind digital wallet in Oman, allowing smartphone users to make QR based payments to merchants, add, and send & receive funds to/from other wallets, thereby expanding Oman’s application of e-payment facilities. EasyPay was another first from AFS – Bahrain’s first NFC payment service allowing payments with a tap of the mobile. Other innovations rolled out by AFS have been electronic KYC, Peer-to-Peer (P2P), Peer-to-Merchant (P2M), QR enabled payments, Tokenization, Remittance, WPS, and Digital Banking solutions.