The future is digital and cashless – that’s what we are aiming for!

40 years ago, when American Express Middle East first opened its offices in Bahrain, plastic was already delivering enhanced security, convenience, and rewards.
Fast forward to today, and the next big wave of payment innovation is upon us which promises to deliver an even better experience.

Join us and show how you can be part of this digital transformation!


Grand Prize:

$20,000 USD for the winning team

1st  Runner-Up Prize

$10,000 USD for the winning team

2nd Runner-Up Prize

$5,000 USD for the winning team

See Participation Agreement for full terms and conditions.


Build a solution that encourages the embracing of digital payments by making them even more appealing, accessible and relevant.

When building your solution, you may wish to consider the following:

  • How can AI’s predictive algorithms and human insights be used? For instance, to deliver more individualised experiences and curated offers.
  • How can we leverage location data to optimize engagement?
  • How can social media data help personalize the experience?
  • With smart data powered credit scoring, how can we expand entrepreneurial credit / microfinance?
  • How can we help small businesses accept digital payments?
  • How can we leverage blockchain technology to provide enhanced capabilities and security?


American Express Middle East has partnered with IBM for Hack @ the Track to provide IBM Cloud Services to hackathon attendees.

Bringing together infrastructure and platform services, IBM Cloud is the home of 130+ unique services, including offerings like IBM Watson and, and millions of running applications, containers, servers and more. 

IBM Cloud is used by over a million developers making over a billion API calls a day and starting over a 100,000 apps a month. 

Click here to view the catalogue of all IBM Cloud offerings including infrastructure, boilerplate applications, server-less containers like Docker, IBM Watson APIs, and IBM Blockchain Platform.


Monday, March 5th

From 18:30 – 20:30 AST:
Meeting ID: 672 742 284

Bahrain Call In Number: +973 1619 8488

Wednesday, March 7th:

9:00   –   Doors Open & Breakfast
10:00 –   Opening Ceremony & Presentations
11:00  –   Coding Begins
12:00 –   Lunch
13:00 –   Breakout Session
18:00 –   Dinner
20:00 –  Pitch Workshop
24:00 –  Midnight Snack

Thursday, March 8th:

00:00 – 7:00 – Hack through the night
7:00 –  Breakfast
12:00 – Lunch
13:00 – Submission Deadline
14:00 – Round 1 Judging
15:00 – Judge Deliberation
15:35 – Awards, announced live on the Main Stage at unbound Bahrain

*If you would like to hack overnight the event will be open and staffed


Each submission will be scored in each round based on the following criteria with a minimum score of 0 and maximum score of 20 points, with the final score being the average of the judges’ scores:

Simplicity (5 points):

Is the application simple to use and can the team explain it clearly in three sentences or less?

Creativity (5 points):

How creative was the team in developing an innovative solution for the challenge?

Impact (5 points):

Did the team create an application that can have a real and valuable impact?

Design (5 points):

Was the UX/UI intuitive and appealing?


Mazin Khoury

CEO at American Express - Middle East and North Africa

Daniel Seal

CEO of Unbound Innovations LTD

Walid Faza

Chief Operating Officer at Wamda and Partner at Wamda Capital

Dr. Simon Galpin

Managing Director at Bahrain Economic Development Board


Teams of up to 5 participants are allowed. All team members must have completed the participation agreement to compete.
You may not begin your project until the competition officially begins. please don't come in and build on top of previous projects if you want to win.
Teams have full ownership of everything they build at our events and are free to do with it as they wish.
Winning teams will be subject to a code-review at some point following the event or immediately before winning.