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Dubai: In circular issued to all banks late Tuesday, the Central Bank of UAE has advised all banks to postpone the implementation of the new rules relating to cheques until further notice.

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Following publication of news items in some section of the press that all banks and other establishments have started accepting only machine readable cheques (MRCs) panic has spread among bank customers across the UAE.

“From 1st January 2011, customers who were holding cheques without security features were denied the ability to deposit such items at the counter of various collecting banks. This has led to problems in various quarters. A revised cut-off date for handling cheques without security features will be released in the near future.  Until then, banks should revert to accepting all cheques presented to them,”  the new Central Bank circular said.

The Central Bank introduced the rules relating to new machine readable cheque system last February in a bid to curb embezzlement and forgery. These are specially designed with electronic bars and can be sorted out by machines - much faster than earlier manual clearance system.

The deadline to start the implementation was January 1, 2011.

Following the issue of new circular from the UAE Central Bank, a banker told Gulf News, it is business as usual for banks and its customers until the new deadline is announced.

“There is no reason for anyone to panic. Banks will continue to accept old cheques and there will be sufficient grace period before the new deadline,” said a banker.