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The Jordan Open Finance Standards
Bahrain Open Banking Framework – Bahrain OBF
Bank Interfaces for Standardized Payments – BISTRA

The Jordan Open Finance Standards aim to simplify and streamline the workflow models within the financial industry and help fintech startups integrate with other financial institutions using a unified set of APIs, alleviating the burden of using multiple APIs tailored to each financial institution’s requirements as they all vary in data models, structures, infrastructure and systems utilized.

The framework that supports the implementation of Open Banking in Bahrain.

The standard has been developed to incorporate the Berlin Group’s  PSD2 Access to Bank Accounts (XS2A) specification with the Bulgarian standards which include specific local money transfers.


Jordan Payments & Clearing Company


The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB)







– Target Financial Institutions: The Open Finance instructions apply to all banks and Payment Service Providers (PSPs) holding licences in Jordan.

– Enforceability: It is mandatory for all financial institutions to allow TPPs access to customer data via APIs after obtaining customer consent.

– API Scope: TPPs can access various types of customer account data, including transaction data, account information, and other relevant data.

– Target TPPs: This includes both Account Information Service Providers (AISPs), which access customer data, and Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs), which facilitate third-party providers in offering payment services.

– Technical and Security Requirements: The responsibility for establishing and documenting technical and security standards for Open Finance services, based on best practices, lies with banks and PSPs.

– Open Finance Policy: Both banks and PSPs must create comprehensive documented policies addressing security aspects, data sharing, and contracting with TPPs, including defining the roles and responsibilities of boards and executive managers in relation to Open Finance services.

– Risk Management: Banks and PSPs must identify, manage, and monitor risks associated with TPP contracts and provide Open Finance services.

– Authentication: Banks and PSPs are required to conduct due diligence with TPPs to verify their identity. The instructions also encompass data privacy and consumer protection requirements.

– Commercialisation: Banks and PSPs are allowed to monetise their APIs but there is currently no guidance in terms of fees and pricing.

The API specifications are designed to be extensible, allowing for updates to capabilities and functionality. 

The Bahrain OBF follows the PSD2‘s guidance. In addition, 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.

As the standard is modelled on the Berlin Group’s standard, the XS2A interface is mandatory in the gaining of consent to access account information. Such information may include a transaction history, or a list of accounts.

The TPP must clearly inform the PSU about the rights they are consenting for. The PSU must be strongly authenticated, and then once the TPP has acquired the right for further account information, they must give the PSU information about the result.

If the TPP cannot be identified at the XS2A interface, then the transaction will be rejected.

Case Studies

Buy now, Pay later (BNPL) offers customers a flexible range of instalment options to choose from while shopping. First introduced and revolutionised by Klarna, a Swedish financial firm, in 2005. Recently Taly launched the first Sharia-compliant BNPL service in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which is free for customers.

API Marketplace (

Raiffeisen Bank International has included BISTRA standard APIs alongside other European standards in its API Marketplace, a portal for certified Third Parties to use to retrieve key information about Raiffeisen customers’ payment accounts, such as account balance and transaction data, including amounts, dates and counterparties. 

Sofia-based Borica Bank has, through its use of the BISTRA standard, built a hub connecting with all Account Servicing Payment Service Providers (ASPSP) on the territory of Bulgaria that have published specialized interface to access their customers’ accounts as required by the PSD2. Upon the customer’s request, the hub may be integrated with other banks outside the territory of Bulgaria.

Data Format
API Status
Active API
Active API
Active API


v1.0.0 / 28 Oct 2020

BISTRA v4.3.0 based on the BISTRA API v1.3 (28.04.2020) and Berlin Group NextGen PSD2 v1.3.12 (01.07.2020)


Access to account information and payment initiation services requires access to customer accounts through APIs with licensees maintaining customer accounts.

The Bahrain OBF API specifications have drawn references from the UK OBIE API specification guidelines, the intellectual property rights for which belong to OBIE, and are subject to usage limitations as specified by OBIE.

To access the interface, a Third Party Provider (TPP) has to meet the following requirements:

  • Authorization to provide services by by a National Competent Authority under PSD2;
  • Valid PSD2-compliant Qualified Web Authentication Certificate (QWAC) according to (ETSI TS 119 495.2). The certificate must be issued by one of the EU list of trusted providers and must specify the roles for which the provider is authorized:
    • Payment initiation (PSP_PI);
    • Account information (PSP_AI);
    • Issuing of card-based payment instruments (PSP_IC).
  • Access to the development or production environment is done by sending an e-mail to with the attached public part of the QWAC. If you would like to have access to the development environment with a test certificate, you also need to provide the certificate chain.




Mandated / Premium
Key Features

The first in the world to include Islamic banking licenses.

The 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 have been customized for implementation in Bahrain based on existing practices and terminology used by the Bahrain ecosystem.

Banks must share generic product information relevant to all the principal retail banking products and services, free of any fees or charges.

In addition to these basic services, AISPs/PISPs are free to provide other value-added services for which they may bilaterally agree with the customer. Thus, some accredited third-party providers may decide to charge for some of their products/solutions/services customised for customers’ needs.

As it is formed majorly from the Berlin Group’s standard to conform to the PSD2 regulation, the standard contains stipulations for balance information and creating payments, combined with consent management.



– Account information

– Extended services

– Payment initiation services

– Product information


Open Banking

  • Account information
  • Payment Initiation


  • Account information
  • Payment initiation


Financial Institutions



Current Accounts

Credit Cards

Current Accounts

Wallets Or Prepaid

Trust Framework





Security Model





Access to the Open Banking API is secured using the Open ID Foundation’s Financial Grade API (FAPI) Profile.

Access also requires customers (Payment Service Users or PSUs) to undergo Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) as part of OpenID Connect authorisation flows.

The API currently supports app->web, mobile-web->web, web->web authentication flows.

More about security.


Account Information
Payment Initiation

Bulk Payments

Future Dated Payments

Single Domestic Payments

Single International Payments

Bulk Payments


Single Domestic Payments

Single International Payments

Standing Orders

PIS includes a ‘signature basket’ to allow a single authorization for multiple different payments.


API Specifications

API Specifications

Operational Guidelines



Security Profile


The Central Bank of Bahrain’s (CBB) 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.

In October 2020, the Kingdom launched the Bahrain Open Banking Framework (Bahrain OBF) and the framework is holistic in defining the Open Banking Regulation, guidelines, technical standards for Open API platforms, security standards (including data privacy), and overall governance.

The Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was a European legislation that came in to force in January 2016 to regulate electronic payment services and payment service providers throughout the EU. This followed on from the original PSD which was adopted by the EU in 2007.

The PSD2 legislation was to bring APIs into line with the diversity of the banking payment services, online banking functionalities, local regulatory requirements and authentication methods.


Governed by the CBB (Central Bank of Bahrain). The board of CBB compromises of seven Directors, appointed by Royal Decree for a renewable term of four years. 

The Governor, with a ministerial rank, is in charge of the day-to-day management and is directly accountable to the Board. This position is appointed by Royal Decree for a renewable 5-year term, and it might be supported by Deputy Governors.

The responsibilities of the Governor include presenting a report to the Board within 3 months after the end of the fiscal year regarding operations, audited accounts and external auditor’s opinion on said accounts.

CBB is also required to present financial and operational reports to the Board and the Ministry of Finance.

Internal governance is maintained effectively through a system of internal committees, documented policies, procedures, internal audits and quality assurance functions.

Read more about governance.


The framework will continue to be revised and updated periodically, based on inputs from the industry and changing global trends.


The list of CBB licensees who have provided self-declarations to CBB stating that they have completed their implementation tasks and are fully compliant with Bahrain OBF v.1.0.0 (Phase 1).

Associated Legislation
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