Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank Ithmaar Bank has joined forces with the region’s telecom operator Batelco and electronic payments outsourcing service provider Arab Financial Services (AFS) to launch a mobile payment service.

The service leverages Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to enable customers shop by tapping their mobile phones at the checkout counters of participating merchants.

Batelco Bahrain CEO Muna Al Hashemi said: “Batelco has continuously embedded innovation as a central to its strategy with the aim of delivering first class customer experience. This new service is a step forward towards this aim, opening exciting opportunities in the future as technology, digital banking and customers’ needs continue to evolve.”

Customers will be able to use the new service by subscribing for an Ithmaar Bank prepaid e-card at the bank’s branches or a Batelco shop and receive their NFC tags.

Ithmaar Bank CEO Ahmed Abdul Rahim said: “We developed this new service with AFS, the technology provider, in line with our long-standing commitment to continuously improving our products and services, and are pleased to be partnering with Batelco to help make this innovative service available to as many people as possible.”