Al Salam Bank Bahrain announced that it is set to launch Bahrain's first EMV-compliant chip-based smart ATM card, another milestone achievement since the Bank's incorporation in January 2006, and a breakthrough in Islamic and conventional banking services in the GCC Region.
EMV, the initials of the three main card companies Europay, Mastercard and Visa, is the name given to the standard developed by these companies, which allows point of sale (POS) and ATM machines to securely read and transmit card information to Al Salam Bank's state-of-the-art systems, thus demolishing the possibility of "counterfeiting" and other fraudulent use of existing magnetic tape-based cards.
Commenting on the launch, Mr Nabeel Al Tattan, Executive Vice President and Banking Group Head at Al Salam Bank said: "We are pleased to be the first in the Kingdom of Bahrain to announce yet another innovative product, inspired by the Bahraini government initiatives of "electronic government" and "chip-based identity card", and in line with the Bank's strategy to provide sophisticated Shari'a compliant services".
Nabeel added: "The EMV chip-based secure card is certified by Visa International and will be accepted in ATM's and POS terminals worldwide. It is also certified by BENEFIT to use BENEFIT and GCCNET switches for transactions in Bahrain and other GCC countries". He added: "Al-Salam Bank has outsourced its ATM services to EURONET Middle East, a worldwide renowned electronic payments provider, and we are also delighted to announce that Al Salam Bank will soon be launching Shari'ah compliant chip-based credit card, in one of many planned initiatives designed to enhance the high quality of services Al Salam provides to its clients in Bahrain and throughout the GCC Region".
Mr Abdulwahid Janahi, General Manager The BENEFIT Company, which operates the national switch system in Bahrain, praised Al Salam Bank's initiative for being the first bank in Bahrain to issue chip-based ATM cards. He added "In November 2006, Benefit Company began implementing a testing and certification plan to assist all its commercial banks member in Bahrain to upgrade their existing ATM cards and machines to the new chip-based standard EMV. Several Banks in the Kingdom of Bahrain has started this process for which Al Salam Bank is one of the first banks to complete the testing and certification requirements".
Al Salam Bank Bahrain Incorporated on 19 January 2006 in the Kingdom of Bahrain with a paid-up capital of US$ 318 million (BD 120 million), Al Salam Bank commenced commercial operations on 17 April 2006. The Bank operates under Islamic principles in accordance with regulatory requirements for Islamic banks set by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The Bank’s vision is to become a leading force in the Islamic financial services industry by providing a differentiated Sharia-compliant offering to focused segments in selected markets.
The Bank’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 35 per cent of the paid-up capital was oversubscribed 63 times and raised over US$ 7 billion (BD 2.7 billion) making it the largest IPO in the Kingdom’s history. The Bank was subsequently listed on the Bahrain Stock Exchange on 27 April 2006.
The founding shareholders of Al Salam Bank hold 65 per cent of the paid-up capital. They include Emaar Properties, Amlak Finance, Dubai Investment Group, Dubai Holding and Global Investment House, together with other strategic shareholders from across the Middle East.
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