CBB announces launch of eKYC as part of digital transformation strategy
By Edil Corneille
Following the announcement of the national digital identity and the electronic Know-Your-Customer (eKYC) platform in April 2019, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) announced the launch of eKYC by financial institutions in the Kingdom as part of its initiatives for digital transformation in the sector.
The national eKYC platform is operated by BENEFIT in collaboration with the Information and eGovernment Authority (IGA) and under the supervision of the CBB. The platform provides a national digital identity database for financial institutions to securely verify the identities of their customers, validate their information and share data digitally before providing products and services. This includes retrieval of customer data from governmental entities including IGA.
BENEFIT has also developed the Application Programming Interface (API) for the platform, which allows for seamless integration with financial institutions core systems, digital channels and mobile apps. With the introduction of open banking in Bahrain, this also provides an opportunity for FinTech companies to verify customers identities through their online and mobile applications.
Khalid Al Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision at the CBB said, “The CBB urges all licensed financial institutions to avail of this innovative and streamlined service and accelerate its efforts towards automating the maintenance of its customer data and reputation records, by implementing eKYC API integration with their core systems, digital channels and mobile apps. We continue to support technological advancement in the sector to minimize cost while also fostering innovation and integration between financial institutions and fintech companies. This is also in line with the CBB’s continuous efforts in developing the financial sector infrastructure in light of the Covid-19 repercussions to ensure appropriate solutions for electronic payment systems.”
BENEFIT’s Chief Executive Officer Abdulwahid Janahi said, “It gives us great pleasure to continue developing the eKYC platform in an effort to drive digital transformation in the Kingdom’s various sectors. We have succeeded in enabling the integration of this digital platform into core banking systems and smart phone applications, and we are pleased to announce that Bahrain Islamic Bank has successfully integrated this platform into its core banking services system, while “ila” Bank offers customer on-boarding in a completely digital and autonomous manner through its mobile app, both based on eKYC API integration. We look forward to the use of eKYC services on a larger scale during the coming period.”
The VCE of eTransformation in the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA), Dr. Zakareya Ahmed Alkhaja, confirmed that iGA cooperated with BENEFIT that implemented the technical development of the project, under the supervision of CBB. The authority has started providing identity verification services to the government sector, and this project complements providing the services to the private sectors, especially the banking sector. This project is said to be one of the first projects using blockchain technology in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
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