The United Arab Emirates' central bank said on Thursday it is confident there will be a compromise to avert a US debt default by an August 2 deadline, adding that it holds no US Treasury bonds or US financial instruments. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi:  The Central Bank of the UAE on Monday announced the introduction of the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) as a standard for identifying all bank accounts in the UAE, starting on November 19, 2011.

The IBAN will be applicable to all account categories across banks in the UAE, marking the country's further integration in line with global best practices in banking and payment transfers.

As part of the transition to this new system, all bank account holders in the UAE will be provided with a unique 23-digit account number, for each of their accounts which will replace their existing account number for all transaction purposes. All banks across the country are responsible for the distribution of IBAN to their respective account holders.

The Central Bank stated: "Introduction of the IBAN is a strategic initiative that will further align the UAE banking system with the standards applied in other global banking systems."

"The adoption of IBAN is a step in the right direction towards increasing the efficiency of electronic payments in the UAE, while further strengthening the country's status as a global financial centre," the Central Bank said.

IBAN is the ISO standard account system that is aimed at enhancing efficiency and security for local and international electronic payments. From November 19, customers will be required to use their IBAN to complete any local or international payment transactions.

Additionally, the customer will need to ensure that their IBAN is used by the sender when they receive electronic payments, both locally and internationally, the Central Bank stated.

The Central Bank of the UAE assured that it has carefully examined the benefits and challenges of implementing IBAN from the experience of other countries. We are confident that this extensive analysis will enable us to successfully transition to the new system without any disruption of banking services and with minimal impact to customer requests, the Bank said.

The implementation of IBAN will allow electronic payments to be sent and received seamlessly between banks in the UAE and in those countries where IBAN has been adopted. For all other banks, the traditional account number along with bank and branch identifiers must be specified in the transaction record.

Currently, over 50 countries in the world use the IBAN standards. This includes all European Union states, as well as regional states such as Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.