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SAMA urged banks operating in the Kingdom to implement some precautionary measures to protect clients from financial fraud. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Riyadh: The Saudi Central Bank, SAMA, directed banks to halt the option of opening online accounts for individuals or institutions ‘until further notice’, local media reported.

Under the new measures that will take effect starting April 10, accounts are to be opened through branches only.

SAMA also asked banks to stop allowing non-Saudi customers to add beneficiaries online and instead do it in person. The move comes as part of the country’s new measures to tackle fraud and support the banking sector’s stability to enhance customer confidence.

Due to the rapid development in the financial services provided by banks through traditional and electronic channels, financial fraud has increased, with different methods and forms, for illegal financial gain, SAMA said in a circular.

Measures also include applying more multi-factor authentication standards for each money transfer transaction for pre-added customers, and customers must manually enter the temporary password or OTP.

Banks are requested to apply more than one criterion to verify identity on the request to establish electronic services, change the password, issue and activate cards, and confirm the request through another channel such as a phone call.

The new measures also include limiting the amount that can be transferred online to SR60,000. Transit time will be two hours for domestic wires and 24 hours for international wires.