Five months after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced new Dh500 bills, the Central Bank said it is still experiencing problems with automated teller machines (ATMs) accepting the new banknotes.
The bills feature new anti-counterfeiting devices such as transparent windows that are proving to be incompatible the existing ATMs. Rashid Al Fandi, executive director of banking operations and payment systems, expressed his frustration over the situation this week.
“When we launched the new, amended Dh500 (US$136.12) notes we informed all the banks to reprogram their machines,” he told The National. “It seems there was a delay in reprogramming the deposit-taking machines. This was what we asked the banks – so why the delay?”
Though consumers can still deposit the new banknotes to their accounts via bank tellers, the Central Bank said they had established timelines for companies to complete upgrades to the machines in order to avoid such a situation.
The Central Bank’s annoyance was compounded by the fact that other devices that took the Dh500 notes, such as counting machines, were reprogrammed within three days, wrote The National.
However, Sherif El Shafie, the regional managing director at NCR Corporation, a US maker of ATMs, barcode scanners and self-service kiosks and one of the biggest vendors of ATMs in the UAE, said the upgrades proved to be more complex than previously imagined.
“There is a sophisticated process for certifying any new banknote release to ensure that the technology identifies and recognizes genuine notes,” Shafie said. “This process takes some time to ensure accuracy.”
Shafie also said that the problem only resides in deposits and expects the issue to be fixed “within a matter of days.” Currently ATMs across the UAE are equipped to dispense the new Dh500 bills.