Dubai: In an emergency, and can’t find your bank’s Automated Teller Machine (ATM) nearby? In the UAE, you can go ahead and use another bank’s ATM, thanks to a system called UAESWITCH.
The UAE Central Bank introduced UAESWITCH in 1996 to link the ATM network of all banks in the UAE, enabling customers of different banks to use any ATM and Point of Sale (POS) facilities in the country.
According to UAE Central Bank - the UAESWITCH provides regional and international connectivity with other similar national systems. Currently, the UAESWITCH is connected to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, known as the GCCNet and to the China Union Pay (CUP) system. Such interconnectivity allows the cardholders of these different systems to use their services interchangeably.
If you are travelling around the GCC, look for the ‘GCCNET’ logo on the ATM machine, which would indicate that the ATM is connected with the system.
1. Extra charges may apply
If you are using your debit card at your bank’s ATM to withdraw cash, then you will not have to pay any extra charges and it is free. But, if you are withdrawing money from another bank’s ATM, you may face charges in the UAE and internationally.
Since ATMs in the UAE are under the UAESWITCH system, there is a standardised fees for ATM withdrawal charges. This also applies to ATMs in the GCC.
A helpful way to avoid paying recurring charges on ATM withdrawals is to withdraw cash less frequently but in bigger amounts or use your debit or credit card for your purchases and payments.
• Balance enquiry within the UAE: Dh1 per transaction
• Cash withdrawal in GCC: Dh6 per transaction
• Balance enquiry in GCC: Dh3 per transaction
The costs listed are for personal banking accounts, and the charges may be different if you have a priority banking or business banking account.
2. You can also use an ATM as a tourist in the UAE
Tourists in the UAE can use an ATM as well, as ATMs in the UAE widely accept foreign credit cards and currency cards (forex cards). If you are using an international card, it is important to remember that you may get charged withdrawal and foreign currency exchange fees.
3. Beware of ‘transaction fees’ while abroad
As a UAE resident, if you are travelling, while using an ATM abroad, you may not get a warning or notice that you are getting charged additionally for the transaction or currency conversion rate.
If a bank does charge a fee, then the norm is still between 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent per transaction. That’s why it is always important to check with your bank card’s policies before you travel to avoid such mark-up costs.