Saudi Central Bank unveils Open Banking Lab

Ellie Duncan
04 Jan 2023

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has launched the Open Banking Lab, a technical testing environment to enable banks and fintechs to develop, test, and certify their Open Banking services, to ensure compatibility with the Kingdom’s Open Banking Framework. 

One of the main features of the Lab is a sandbox environment, which provides a simulation of a real bank’s Open Banking APIs, with participants able to build and test their applications in a safe and secure environment. 

The new Open Banking Lab also supports a range of end retail and corporate use cases, with mock data available for banking and fintech participants to test their solutions. 

Finally, the Lab offers testing and certification services, to ensure their APIs conform with the Open Banking Framework, released in November 2022. 

The framework provides a comprehensive set of legislation, regulatory guidelines and technical standards based on international best practices to enable banks and fintechs to provide Open Banking services in the Kingdom. 

The first version of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Open Banking services focused on account information services (AIS), with the second version focused on payment initiation service (PIS). 

SAMA mandated banks to make their account information APIs available by the end of 2022 and their payment initiation APIs by March 2023. 

The central bank continues to track the progress made by banks and fintechs to ensure they are ready to launch Open Banking services within the first quarter of 2023. 

Following the release of the Framework last November, financial API platform Salt Edge expanded into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with plans to rollout a set of Open Banking solutions in the Saudi market. 

The implementation of Open Banking is one of the initiatives of the Fintech Strategy, which is one of the pillars of the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) under Saudi Vision 2030.