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The UAE central bank in the UAE is pressing banks to push more of their services online to ensure public health is not compromised in any way following the virus outbreak. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has called on bank customers to take advantage of digital and online banking services as a measure to protect the health and safety of UAE residents. The apex bank also asked banks to make available more digital/online banking services in the face of an unprecedented public health scare set off by the coronavirus.

“Following our leadership directives, our number one priority is your safety of and each one of us has a responsibility to take steps to mitigate the effect of the spread of COVID-19,” said Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori, Governor of Central Bank of UAE. “We and the financial institutions stand strong to serve the community through multiple digital channels and contact centers.”

Go digital

While the CBUAE and UAE Banks Federation(UBF), an association of banks in the UAE, reassured customers on the continuity of banking services in the country during times of uncertainty, the regulator asked all customers to activate their online and digital banking options, including mobile app-based services.

“Banking operations thus far continue to operate normally with some banks effectively implementing remote working. We continue to monitor the situation and will take necessary measures as needed,” said Al Mansoori.

Pay via mobile

The central bank also called on customers to use contactless and mobile payments. “You should be able to use a contactless payment device in most shops, which means you don’t have to touch the payment terminal or exchange cash,” the central bank said in a statement. “Or link your debit/credit cards to your smartphone or device to make mobile payments.”

According to AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UAE Banks Federation, “The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has created significant challenges to society. Although the UAE banking sector has not seen any significant pressure at this stage, to maximize efficiencies and reduce the spread of the virus we encourage all customers to use digital channels to conduct their banking.”

Alert on fraudsters

The central bank also urged customers to stay alert on fraudsters may try to take advantage of the current situation. “Make sure you’re on the lookout for anything suspicious, including messages about Coronavirus claiming to be from your bank,” the central bank said. “Remember, we’ll never ask you for your PIN or password or ask you to move money from your accounts.”

“The safety and well-being of customers and employees is our highest priority, and we must remain vigilant during these times of heightened concern,” said Al Ghurair. “As an industry, we are well positioned to face any obstacles that lie ahead, and help the economy navigate through the temporary difficulties we are facing.”