Digital Bank ila and Prizeout Launch Gift Card Program 

Bahrain’s ila Bank has teamed with Prizeout to help its customers purchase gift cards.

The collaboration with Prizeout, a U.S.-based AdTech firm, digitizes purchasing gift cards from more than 300 brands, ila said in a Tuesday (Jan. 17) news release.

“Leveraging Prizeout’s proprietary technology and extensive worldwide partnerships, the product intuitively offers relevant brands to the customers and a host of added-value benefits above the purchase amount,” the release said.

Mohamed Al Maraj, ila’s CEO, added that the program fits with his bank’s philosophy of “‘banking that reflects you’ as it delivers a smarter, more relevant, and simpler purchasing experience.”

Dave Metz, founder and CEO of Prizeout, noted that the collaboration marks his company’s expansion into the Middle East.

Metz spoke with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster last year about the business, which connects partner firms with consumers who typically wish to “cash out” — giving them access to bonus offers through gift cards and other rewards. Those incentives are, in most cases, worth as much as 11% more than a simple cash out.

The gift cards, delivered via email, can be redeemed at a number of retailers, ranging from Apple to GameStop (or, in the case of the ila partnership, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which bills itself as the world’s largest amusement park). Metz told Webster the company was disrupting the traditional ‘funds out’ process.

“That disruption, he said, has positive ripple effects up and down commerce ecosystems,” PYMNTS wrote. “As we’ve typically used them, all withdrawals are fee-based. Whenever someone withdraws funds from a digital wallet, for example, someone’s paying a fee — and that fee is paid by the consumer or their chosen place of business.”

But Metz said his company has flipped that model and has partners monetize those withdrawals, in part, by eliminating intermediaries.

Prizeout’s partnership with ila comes as digital banking is poised to bloom in popularity in the Middle East and North Africa, as PYMNTS wrote earlier this month.

Last year saw a string of launches and announcements in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia that showed the arrival of digital banks in the Gulf.

After YAP officially debuted in the UAE last year, government-backed Wio followed suit in September with an initial focus on the small to medium-sized business market.

Across the border in Saudi Arabia, three homegrown neobanks have received licenses from the country’s central bank: STC Bank and Saudi Digital Bank in June 2021 and D360 last February.