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Open banking comes to Bahrain

Chris Hamblin, Editor, London, 30 October 2020

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The Central Bank of Bahrain has launched the 'Bahrain Open Banking Framework' to ensure that the financial services industry offers 'open banking' services holistically.

The regime features detailed operational guidelines, security standards and guidelines, customer experience guidelines, technical open Application Programming Interface (API) specifications and the overall governance arrangements that every such regime uses to protect the data of customers. These standards follow Bahrain's comprehensive open banking rules which the Government issued in December 2018.

The Bank developed the regime in collaboration with Deloitte and in consultation with retail banks and other financial institutions in Bahrain.

Open banking services entail the provision of two broad categories of service. The first is “account information service” which provides customers with access to all bank account information in an aggregated manner through a single platform. The second category is “payment initiation service,” which allows licensed third parties to initiate payments on behalf of customers while allowing seamless transfers to occur between different customers' accounts through a mobile based application.

Commenting on the launch, Mr Rasheed Al Maraj, the Governor of the Central Bank, said: “The introduction of Bahrain OBF is a continuation of the CBB’s efforts in developing the local ecosystem to encourage innovation in banking, whilst providing customers with advanced services that keep pace with the development witnessed by the global banking industry, and will also assist emerging Fintech companies to work competitively. This is in line with the CBB’s vision with regards to digital transformation and paving the way for innovation and attracting FinTechs.”

The ultimate objective is to spawn better services at lower cost with better choices for banking customers and to stimulate innovation further.

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