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15 July 2024

New security features for cheques from January 1

New security features for cheques from January 1. (EB FILE)

By CL Jose

After having established the T+0 (same day) clearing mechanism for cheques issued within the UAE, banks are now required to switch to a more secured cheque regime with 14 new features by January 1.

The Central Bank deadline to UAE banks to meet the new security features is nearing and most banks have successfully incorporated those security features sought from them.

"This will help weed out any potential threat of forgery or tampering with the cheques. The security features mandated by the Central Bank are world class, and the move will certainly implant the much-needed trust in this instrument, which is one of the most popular modes of transactions in the banking industry," said bankers.

While Dh859.4 billion worth of cheque clearing took place during 2008 through 18.643 million cheque leaves, the statistics available until August in the current year show that the value of cheque cleared during the eight-month period was Dh657.9bn and the number of cheque leaves issued was 18.313 million.

The Central Bank has mandated the banks to ensure that the new cheques to be issued are Thermo-chromic Sensitive and Chemical Sensitive.

While being thermo chromic sensitive will prevent fraudsters from using the colour photocopy of cheques to cheat unsuspecting people, the chemical sensitivity will render it impossible for anyone to tamper with the signature or remove or alter the content on the cheque leaf.

"The thermo-chromic sensitive cheque leaf will not allow a perfect photocopying of the leaf as the temperature generated by the photocopier will result in the loss of certain characters on the cheque leaf. Likewise, being chemical sensitive means that any attempt to alter the content of the cheque leaf will smudge the paper," said an analyst.

The Central Bank has given a grace period for the cheques in the pipeline to comply with the new security features.

"For example, there will be cheques issued on future dates, called post-dated cheques, and naturally these cheques will come for clearing on a later date," a banker quoted the circular issued by the Central Bank.

However, banks will be required to inform the places concerned about this in time.

These cheques will have time until June 30 to comply with the security features.

As more banks moving towards operator-less transaction system, the banking instruments need to be tamper-free so that the incidence of fraud can be reined in.


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