The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has developed guidelines and standards as part of Bahrain Open Banking Framework (Bahrain OBF) to assist financial institutions and third party providers in developing Open Banking solutions for growth and innovation in Bahrain’s banking space.
It is the vision of the CBB to expand the scope of traditional banking in Bahrain by promoting adoption of latest digital trends and innovative financial service solutions. The CBB has worked with the industry to design and develop rules related to Open Banking (Module OB in Volume 5 of the CBB Rulebook). Bahrain OBF aims to ensure a higher degree of consistency in the implementation of these rules by providing a common set of technical and customer experience standards across the Open Banking participants.
The Bahrain OBF will continue to be revised and updated periodically, based on inputs from the industry, and changing global trends. The confluence pages display the latest version of the framework (currently Bahrain OBF v1.0.0), which is publicly available for the Open Banking participants. The Bahrain OBF should be read in conjunction with the latest version of the CBB Rulebook.
The CBB's rules relating to Open Banking were introduced in December 2018, when the CBB mandated the adoption of Open Banking for all retail banks in the Kingdom. While a majority of the banks and the third parties have progressed on implementation of Open Banking to meet the prescribed deadline of June 2019, in order to accelerate adoption, the CBB felt the need to ensure that there is a high degree of consistency in the implementation of Open Banking. Towards this objective, the CBB, in consultation with industry participants, has developed the Bahrain Open Banking framework of standards and guidelines.
Know more about Bahrain OBF
Open Banking (OB) is defined as the sharing and leveraging of customer-permissioned data by banks with third-party financial service providers (TPPs), who in Bahrain, are licensed as Account Information Service Providers (AISPs) or as Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs) depending on the nature of services they provide using the access that they get to customer data based on his explicit consent. Customers gain access to new range of innovative services that can help them manage their money better based on customer consent given to banks and other firms holding customer accounts share account information with licensed AISPs/PISPs providers.Open Banking will allow AISPs and PISPs to obtain access to the user/customer permissioned banking, transaction, and other financial data from ASPSPs (conventional retail bank licensees and Islamic retail bank licensees) through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs).
By offering greater customer control over data and broader access beyond traditional banking services, Bahrain’s Open Banking initiative not only has the potential to create a more competitive and innovative financial services industry, but also promises to create a new data sharing and data analytics infrastructure, which will form the basis of a much richer range of services, experience and products across Bahrain’s digital economy as a whole. With the rising importance of data in today’s digital economy, securely enabling users/customers to share their personal financial data with trusted third parties has the potential to deliver improvements and new value in financial services—from digital advice to financial automation and innovative product development.
Bahrain’s Open Banking initiative will enhance the experience of the users/customers, enable them to view all their account information in one place, help them budget their financial needs, find customised products and services suited to serve their requirements and find new ways to make the most of their finances. This will also provide an additional medium for the users/customers to make quick, easy and direct payments from their accounts. Bahrain’s Open Banking initiative will transform the way the users/customers access their account information and compare their products and services and get a better deal suited to their needs.
The Central Banking of Bahrain (CBB) in consultation with the industry is implementing Bahrain OBF in Bahrain. The CBB endeavors to maintain a leading position in the MENA region with regards to regulatory frameworks that promote digitalization and the increased adoption of innovative solutions in financial services. The issuance of rules relevant to “Open Banking” is one of several such initiatives designed to support and promote innovation. Bahrain OBF aims to ensure a higher degree of consistency in the implementation of these rules by providing a common set of technical and customer experience standards across the Open Banking participants.
The users/customers and accredited entities that are a part of the Open Banking ecosystem are the key participants.
Users/Customers: All eligible users/customers will be entitled to exercise the right to access and share their data with third party financial service providers. The users/customers who have enabled online or mobile banking services for their accounts are eligible to avail Open Banking services.
Accredited Entity: All eligible entities accredited by Central Bank of Bahrain to practice Open Banking which include Account Information Service Providers (AISPs) and Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs).
Account Services Payment Service Providers (ASPSPs): All retail banks holding customer accounts. In the future, other licensees may also participate in open banking.
Notes and Disclaimer
The API standards are published as read only and the Central Bank of Bahrain does not make any warranty or representation regarding the API standards, including warranties as to description, merchantability, that the API Standards will be free from defects, or otherwise fit for purpose
The Bahrain OBF framework is principally based on global ISO standards, specifications and guidelines as published by the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) in the U.K, the Open Banking standards in Australia, and the Payment Services Directive (PSD2). These global standards, specifications and guidelines have been customized for implementation in Bahrain based on existing practices and terminology used by the Bahrain ecosystem
The API specifications adhere to RESTful API design principles and are designed to be extensible, allowing for updates to capabilities and functionality. The Bahrain OBF API specifications have drawn references from the UK OBIE API specification guidelines, the intellectual property rights for which belong to OBIE, UK and are subject to usage limitations as specified by OBIE, the UK