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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Bank customers must submit their Emirates ID or face suspension

Consumers who have not already shared identity documents have until February 28 to update their records

Residents wait to be photographed for their Emirates ID. Those who have not supplied the document to their lender must do by February 28 next year. Jeff Topping/The National
Residents wait to be photographed for their Emirates ID. Those who have not supplied the document to their lender must do by February 28 next year. Jeff Topping/The National

UAE residents must submit their Emirates ID to banks or risk the suspension of their debit and credit cards, according to a central bank circular.

The note, given to The National by the Al Etihad Credit Bureau, urged bank and finance companies to ensure customers update their records by February 28, 2019 to avoid repercussions. The ruling applies to customers that have not already handed in identity documents.

“It should be stated in media campaigns that the failure of doing so would result in not being able to use ATM cards to withdraw funds or conduct direct debit transactions as well as stopping credit card transactions after February 28,” the central bank circular, issued earlier this month, stated.

A central bank spokesman didn't respond to questions from The National.

Customers who fail to comply will be unable to withdraw money from automated teller machines and will have direct debit and credit card transactions stopped until they provide their Emirates ID, according to the directive. The UAE Central Bank said the temporary suspension of ATM cards would not prevent customers from withdrawing cash from an account directly at a bank’s branch counter.

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Banks in the UAE require identity documents such as Emirates ID from customers to take out loans or credit cards. However, Al Etihad Credit Bureau said it only has Emirates ID information for 85 per cent of 4.5 million borrowers in its database.

“There is another 15 per cent, which the banks have actively tried to approach, but they are not always successful because customers do not share it as they should," said Marwan Lutfi, the chief executive of AECB.

Mr Lutfi says the central bank’s latest ruling is “important”. “It is not the bank’s but the individual’s duty to make sure the information is up to date,” he said.

“Over the past few years, there has been a constant effort by all the banks in the community but now a time limit has been set," Mr Lutfi said. "If customers fail to meet the February 28 deadline, banks will suspend debit and credit cards.

"After three months your cards get suspended completely,” he added.

Banks cannot charge customers “any fees, charges or other dues as a result of the temporary suspension of ATM and credit cards”, the central bank circular said.

Mr Lutfi said once all the Emirates IDs are submitted, the accuracy of AECB’s database will “be even better” as it will “ensure every single person has complete matching records".