Dubai: Banks in the UAE have suspended the accounts of customers who failed to update their Emirates ID details last month, leaving some residents unable to use their credit and debit cards for shopping and cash withdrawals.
The move is in compliance with a directive from the UAE Central Bank, which has mandated financial institutions to update identification records of customers within a specified timeframe.
Banks had earlier posted notifications and sent out text messages to customers, reminding them to have their ID details updated by February 28, 2019, to avoid interruption to their banking services. Customers were asked to share a copy of their Emirates ID with the bank either via SMS, email or by contacting their relationship manager, if any.
“If the bank has not been able to verify your Emirates ID details within this time, restrictions will be placed on any debit/ credit cards provided and internet / mobile banking services until this information is provided,” Commercial Bank International (CBI) stated on its website.
Shaker Zainal, head of retail banking at CBI, confirmed that, with the deadline already over, some customer accounts have already been deactivated in line with the Central Bank requirements.
“As per Central Bank regulations, CBI introduced service disruption consequences for customers who failed to comply with this regulatory requirement. As a result, debit and credit cards - including ATM cash withdrawals - were suspended post the February 28 deadline."
"These measures will remain in effect until the affected customers update their Emirates ID information,” he added, noting that direct debit transactions have not been affected.
Suvo Sarkar, senior executive vice president and head of retail, banking and wealth management at Emirates NBD, confirmed that they have also suspended some customer accounts.
“As per Central Bank guidelines, customers who did not update their details within the given timeframe faced suspension of their debit or credit card, following which the card cannot be used for any transaction, such as ATM cash withdrawals, retail purchases or e-commerce transactions,” Sarkar said in a statement sent to Gulf News.
“The suspension remains in force until the customer updates their details with us.”
Sarkar, however, clarified that since the bank has been proactively encouraging residents to update their records, the vast majority of its customers have not experienced any service interruption. "Only a very small percentage of customer accounts have been suspended."
“We are pleased to note that we have seen most of our customers update their details successfully in recent months. Customers who are yet to update their details are requested to do so at the earliest to continue enjoying seamless banking services,” Sarkar added.
CBI said in its notice that the ID details are required to meet “regulatory obligations to the Central bank of the UAE,” as well as their legal obligations internationally. Banks also want to ensure the “accurate and efficient running of customers’ accounts."