Dubai: The Dubai eGovernment has partnered with Abu Dhabi-based Zakat Fund to launch eZakat, the first electronic Zakat payment channel through its ePay service.
By logging on to www.zakatfund.ae, people can pay their Zakat using their Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards.
Abdullah Ogeida Al Muheiri, general secretary of the Zakat Fund, said it had collected more than Dh60 million in the last two years. "We expect more Zakat in the future in line with launching the new epayment," he said.
At present, only Dubai Commercial Bank clients can pay the Zakat direct from their accounts, but negotiations are under way to extend the service through the ATM machines of UAE Islamic banks.
"We are working also with one of the Islamic banks to use its ATM machines," Al Muheiri said. "If this succeeds we will study allowing commercial banks to provide the service as well."
He added that the cost of modifying software to extend the service to ATM machines is a real challenge to the banks.
"In today's technology-reliant age, an ever-increasing number of people are using the power of the internet to access a host of services, and Dubai eGovernment which has been constantly promoting the use of eServices in Dubai, sees this as another opportunity to extend the scope of electronic services," said Salem Al Shair, eServices Director, Dubai eGovernment.
"The introduction of the Zakat payment service marks another important value addition to Dubai eGovernment's services," he added.
Zakat is the sum 2.5 per cent of net assets that every adult Muslim who is financially able should pay annually to support the poor and needy.
The Zakat fund is one of several entities which are authorized to accept the money and ensure that it is distributed through the UAE Red Crescent and other welfare organisations.