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Account identifier required for salary transfers.

Even if they don't wire money overseas or move funds locally, employed residents in the UAE whose salaries are transferred to their current or savings accounts still need to provide their employers with their International Bank Account Number (IBAN) to avoid any processing delays or transfer rejections.

According to Robert Thomson, chief manager for information technology at the UAE Central Bank, the account identifier is required if one's salary is processed using the UAE Wages Protection System (UAEWPS) and UAE Funds Transfer System (UAEFTS), which processes high-value payments.

Without the IBAN, employers won't be able to transfer salaries once the new system is fully in place next year.

Although it's not mandatory yet, all UAE banking customers are, however, encouraged to quote their IBAN when placing payment instructions starting today. They must also be able to quote the IBAN of the recipient of funds.

"Both UAEFTS and UAEWPS will accept and process IBAN and non-IBAN for a period of three to four months starting [today]. After the grace period, both systems will reject transactions where IBAN is required but not present," Thomson added.

Somnath Menon, head of operations and technology at Mashreq, explained that all salary transfers are routed through the UAE Central Bank before they get credited to the employees' accounts, so it is important that a valid IBAN is quoted.

"Customers are required to share their IBAN with their employers to ensure there is no disturbance or delay in their credits," Menon said.

Clive Haswell, Standard Chartered's chief information officer for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, clarified that, as instructed by the Central Bank, salary payments without IBAN will continue to be accepted until February 17, 2012, if funds are paid through telegraphic transfers, and until April 13, 2012, if funds are paid through WPS.

Richard Musty of Lloyds TSB in the Middle East said: "Initially, the Central Bank [has allowed] a short grace period to facilitate the transition to the new system. However, we recommend that customers provide their IBAN to their employers now to ensure timely receipt of funds into their accounts."

"Payment instructions which are passed without the IBAN are likely to be rejected or may be delayed after the grace period," Musty said.

However, some banks like HSBC will still allow the use of conventional bank accounts for salary transfers if both the employer and the employee maintain accounts with the bank.

"This can differ from bank to bank. At HSBC, customers have two options: they can transfer funds to another HSBC account holder using IBAN, or if they don't use the IBAN, the transaction will still go through, as long as the two separate accounts are maintained with HSBC," a spokesperson told Gulf News.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Nov 19, 2011
Words:469
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