Business | Banking

Customers feel pinch of bank card glitch

ATM withdrawals and purchases hit by ‘slowdown in the connectivity grid’

  • By Alexander Cornwell, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 18:07 January 5, 2014
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Several bank cards in the UAE failed on Saturday leaving consumers unable to withdraw money from ATMs (automatic teller machines) or make over-the-counter payments in stores.

Several banks are believed to have been impacted, according to Network International. The payment solutions provider said a “slowdown in the connectivity grid” was the cause of the problem.

Khalid Majed, an Emirates NBD customer, told Gulf News that he was unable to withdraw cash from four ATMs in Sharjah on Saturday, including two Emirates NBD machines.

However, Majed later received a text message notification stating that the money had been debited to his account.

In a statement on Twitter on Saturday following customer queries, Emirates NBD said there had been a “technical issue”. On Sunday, the bank issued a statement to Gulf News confirming the “outage”.

“The impacted transactions have been reversed almost automatically in most cases. We are finalising the reversal for the remaining accounts at the earliest ... We would like to assure all customers that their money is secure with the bank and no customer will face any losses as a result of this incident,” Emirates NBD stated.

Majed, who had a substantial amount debited from his account, said on Sunday that only an earlier, lesser amount had been deposited back.

He said Emirates NBD had advised him to visit a branch and fill in a dispute form, but it could up take up to seven days for the amount to be returned.

Sheila, another Emirates NBD customer, told Gulf News that she first noticed the problem at 8.30pm on Saturday at Dubai International Airport Terminal 1 when she tried to make a withdrawal from a non-Emirates NBD ATM. After the transaction was rejected, she tried an Emirates NBD ATM, but it also rejected her transaction. A third attempt at 10.30am was successful, but Sheila did not receive a text message notification about the earlier failed withdrawals. Later, when she checked the balance in her bank account, the failed withdrawal amounts had been debited.

Adnan, a social media executive and an Emirates Islamic Bank customer, told Gulf News he had a similar problem.

“I was shopping in Bur Dubai [on Saturday] and I swiped by card, but the transaction was rejected with a ‘do not honour’ message.”

Adnan later received a text message notification that a purchase had been made, but his account had not been debited when he checked online on Sunday.

Emirates Islamic Bank is a subsidiary of the Emirates NBD Group.

A spokesperson for mashreq told Gulf News that there was no issue with its ATMs or Point of Sale (PoS) machines on Saturday.

PoS machines are used in stores to process card payments.

The spokesperson said the issue was with an external bank, which meant that customers were unable to make card payments in stores.

A spokesperson for the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) told Gulf News that its customers had not been impacted.

On Sunday, Emirates NBD customers took to Twitter to complain about larger than usual queues at branches and problems with online payments. At least one user tweeted on Sunday that they were unable make payments or withdrawals with their Emirates NBD debit card.

Comments (8)

  1. Added 17:25 January 6, 2014

    I am also one of the victims of that system failure, when i spent almost 1.5 hrs in shopping a Emirates Cooperative Society but at the time of payment all debit/credit card machines refused to accept transactions. I also tried to withdraw money from DIB & EIB ATMs but 4 times it got refused. In the end i ended up buying a stuff for AED 75 which was the only hard cash in my pocket. Next day Dhs.2000 were debited to my account even though all attempts at ATM were unsuccessful. Call center agent are not giving any complain reference number as a confirmation of complain acceptance but they have promised that IT is working on it and it will be credited back to your account SOMEDAY

    kamran, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:40 January 6, 2014

    This is heights of poor administration of systems... If we owe a single dirham to the bank, and we don't pay it on time they charge the customers with late fee, finance charges, interest and all other possible charges under the sky and go up to putting the person behind the bars. But these have guys conveniently taken our money and until you ask they wont repay, and too after 24-48 hours? Isn't this ridiculous? why isn't no one (the authorities) looking at this as a breach of trust, and charge the banks with criminal case. Isn't that the case that they charge on individuals who gave cheque and couldn't repay?

    MR, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 15:58 January 6, 2014

    Saw some guys not able to do the payments for their credit card at FGB. It was showing card invalid message and when tried doing manually also it was showing same message.

    simon, abu dhabi, India

  4. Added 14:48 January 6, 2014

    Saturday night around 7pm i purchased some cake online, it was not successful, i did not receive any invoice on my e-mail, few minutes back i received an message from emirates nbd it was debited the amount to my credit card.

    Rhyan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 13:01 January 6, 2014

    Due to ATM Link down my brother was failed to pay restaurant bill through his NBD ATM Card and all the way from sharjah to Dubai I came across to give him cash as the restaurant manager was not accepting any guarantee.

    Aamir, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 12:26 January 6, 2014

    This sounds like a bank fault. The ATM service appears to work, but they sent a failed/error message to the machine. This may end up to many thousands of Dirhams in the banks favor.

    Drew, Durham, United States

  7. Added 09:42 January 6, 2014


    NISAR, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 09:32 January 6, 2014

    I am having an Islamic Bank Account, on Saturday 4 Jan 2014 tried to withdraw Aed 5000/ through another bank's ATM Machine in Madina Mall Al Qusais the transaction was failed again i tried from another ATM next to Madina Mall there is Eppco fuel station there it was saying your timed out. When next day in the morning i withdraw through my bank's ATM in Al Quoz near to Noor Islamic Bank Metro Station my balance was showing less AED 5000/ immediately i called the Bank customer care and complained about the this matter they appologised for the failure of transaction and said we are working with this issue cause whole UAE many customers were facing with the same problem and within few days your amount will be reimburse into your account but when no one is giving the answer when, cause of this my whole planning got upset, just i am waiting for my amount to be get deposited as early as possible into my account.

    Hamid, Dubai, India

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