Bahrain’s E-banking law could be revamped soon

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Reports suggest that Bahrain’s legislation governing electronic banking and financial transactions will undergo a revamping soon.

Currently, the parliament of Bahrain and the Shura council is evaluating the existing laws for electronic cheques, receipts, and cash transactions to make sure that they match up to the new practices and standards.

The financial and economic affairs committees in both chambers are set to invite experts to aid framing the security, protection measures and safeguard database and procedures.

Ahmed Al Salloom, Parliament financial and economic affairs committee chairman says, “the dynamics of things today as governed by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) or even regular practices are more sophisticated and sensitive than all the legislation introduced in this country over the past four decades. It doesn’t mean that the country’s financial deals and transactions are being done through an antiquated system or are vulnerable to security attacks”.

Al Salloom also stated that Bahrain is the leader in Islamic banking and also a banking hub which by itself proves the strong foundation and legislative flexibility of the country.

The flexibility of the current law cannot be applied in the present situation when every procedure including cheques, receipts and money flow turns fully electronic. When every banking procedure takes a digital transformation the major concerns are up on hacking, cyber theft and cybercrimes and expert are expected to counter that.

Shura financial and economic affairs committee vice-chairman and top economic analyst Redha Faraj states that the pandemic has created a huge demand for electronic banking as it seems more flexible and reliable for people.

But some aspects need more clarifications including, whether the cheques constitute actual payment or guarantees or if a scanned copy constitutes a financial receipt.

“Cash transactions’ traceability and follow-up remain another issue of security – is it money laundering, illegal or something else,” Faraj said.

The National Assembly, Parliament and Shura Council will be convening for the third term next month.

According to the reports, the CBB has launched a coding service in collaboration with the Benefit company for operating the encryption feature for contactless payment using smartphones.