It covers payment methods and information on, banking systems, foreign exchange controls, and U.S. and correspondent banking.
Methods of Payment
The most common method of ensuring payment to exporters is via letter of credit (L/C). The L/C should conform to international guidelines established by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), as published in the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP). L/Cs offer certain advantages to the seller, namely they make payment dependent on the creditworthiness of the opening (issuing) bank rather than the buyer. For the buyer, an L/C helps ensure all the seller’s documents are correct before payment is made. Other possible methods of international commercial payments include cash, open credit, and documentary credit sales.
For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.
The banking sector in Bahrain includes both conventional and Islamic lenders and there is some crossover between the two as reflected by recent mergers and equity purchases.
Bahrain is one of the primary financial hubs in the Middle East, though it faces steep competition from the United Arab Emirates (mainly Dubai). International financial institutions operate in Bahrain without impediments. The Central Bank of Bahrain regulates the banking and insurance sectors. Legal, regulatory, and accounting systems in the financial sector (onshore and offshore) are transparent and consistent with international norms.
The Bahraini government, through its Economic Development Board, is investing heavily in the financial technology sector. In 2017, it launched “Bahrain FinTech Bay,” the largest FinTech hub in the Middle East and Africa, to help solidify its position as a financial hub in the region.
Foreign Exchange Controls
The Bahraini Dinar (BD) is fully convertible and is pegged to the U.S. dollar (BD 1 = USD $2.66). There are no foreign exchange controls or restrictions on the repatriation of capital from Bahrain.
U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks
U.S. banks operating in Bahrain include:
American Express, which maintains its Middle East Headquarters in Bahrain:
Al Moayyed Tower, Floor 14, 15, 16 and 17
Gate 2504 Road 2832 Al Seef District 428
P.O. Box 5990 Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Tel: +973-1755-7777, +973-1755-7755
Citibank, which operates as a full commercial bank, offshore banking unit, representative office, and as an Islamic-banking subsidiary:
P.O. Box 548 Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Tel: +973-1758-8588, Fax: +973-1758-8595
J.P. Morgan Chase, which operates as an offshore bank:
J.P. Morgan Chase
P.O. Box 368 Manama
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tel: +973-1753-5388, Fax: +973-1753-5135