Monday, November 21, 2011

New bank account number deadline set for March

The UAE this week began enforcing an international bank account number for all clients but they can still receive funds on old accounts until March, a central bank official was reported on Monday as saying.

IBAN, consisting of 23 digits, was enforced on November 19 and the country’s 51 banks are required to provide this new number to all their clients before the end of March, said Rashid Al Fandi, head of the banking operations.

Quoted by the semi official daily Alittihad, Fandi said the introduction of the more protected account number would not delay salaries in the UAE before the end of the deadline, adding that clients should begin receiving the new numbers now.

“The central bank has given clients until the end of March to receive their new account numbers and provide them to their employers,” he said.

“After the end of the deadline, all banking operations will be compatible with the new account system and no dealings will be accepted for the old number.”

Fandi assured the public that despite the enforcement of the new system on November 19, salaries and all other remittances would still be sent to the old account numbers until the expiry of the deadline at the end of March.

“After that date, the old number will no loner be in use and any money transfer could be much delayed if sent to the old number,” he said.

In a statement last month, the central bank said the introduction of the IBAN is a strategic initiative that will further align the UAE banking system with the standards applied in other global banking systems.

“The adoption of IBAN is a step in the right direction towards increasing the efficiency of electronic payments in the UAE, while further strengthening the country's status as a global financial centre.”

The UAE has the largest banking system in the Middle East, with the combined assets of the 51 banks standing at nearly Dh1,672 billion at the end of September. UAE banks also have the largest capital and deposits in the region, at nearly Dh262 billion and Dh1,067 billion respectively.


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