Competing on a global scale

Arab Financial Services

Arab Financial Services was formed to deliver innovative payment and technology systems on a Pan-Arab basis to institutions and companies throughout the Middle East. Today, it has acquired the status of a truly international company competing on a global basis.

Formed in Bahrain in 1984, AFS is owned by 55 different Arab financial institutions - including central banks, state banks and the largest of the private banks representing every part of the Arab world.

In the past decade, AFS has also broadened its range of products and services to become a significant provider of international financial services and bureau processing, as well as technological systems development.

The Visa Branded Travellers Cheques has been instrumental in the growth of AFS, paving the way for the company to establish itself as one of the major issuers of Travellers Cheques in the Arab world, and the second biggest Visa issuer internationally.

The Travellers Cheque product was complemented by the AFS MasterCard and Visa corporate payment cards offering a wide ranging benefits as other leading payment cards. These cards are specifically designed for organisations to make available to executives for travel and other business needs.

Since the late 1980s AFS has been able to offer its card bureau processing services, giving institutions the opportunity to outsource this service and thus avoiding unnecessary high set-up costs. The result has been the easing of restrictions and a boom in the availability of cards to the Arab public. AFS is able to provide bureau processing thanks to its sophisticated facilities for administration and technology, its experienced staff and on-line, real-time communications links with Visa International and MasterCard.

The development and introduction of the AFS wholesale banknote dealing operation for foreign money also came about at the end of the last decade. This is the only major such service located in the Gulf States and one of the largest in the Arab world.

In just 12 years of operation, Arab Financial Services has become something of a landmark company in Bahrain's busy financial sector. Following the completion of ten-storey AFS Tower, in 1993 the Company has made a very real and significant addition to the topography of Bahrain.