International Bank Account Number (IBAN) will become mandatory in Qatar for customers’ cross-border money transfers from May 1, 2014.
IBAN scheme will go live in Qatar on January 1 based on a Qatar Central Bank directive but will become compulsory for cross-border money transfers only after the expiry of the transition period on April 30, an industry source said yesterday.
International Bank Account Number will facilitate automatic processing of money transfers between countries, which are IBAN-compliant. Customers can get International Bank Account Number from their respective banks in Qatar.
From May 1, incoming and outgoing transfers to and from local banks and financial institutions through SWIFT/QATCH/TERMS will require IBAN.
International Bank Account Number will govern all incoming cross boarder transfers to customer accounts with
banks/financial institutions in Qatar.
Also, all outgoing cross boarder transfers to customer accounts with banks/financial Institutions in IBAN-compliant countries will require International Bank Account Number for payment processing, a senior banker said.
Banks will not process and reject such transfers that do not contain a valid IBAN.
Furthermore, there may be additional “rejection charges” applied to the transfer, it is learnt.
However, a source said “there was no communication as yet on IBAN being made compulsory for money transfer through exchange houses.”
“Many countries including India are not yet IBAN-compliant. So, payments to such countries through exchange houses may not be based on IBAN in the near-term,” the exchange official said.
IBAN for Qatar will comprise 29 digits and contain the following information; country code, security digits, bank identifier code followed by customer’s current bank account number.
IBAN will not replace a customer’s existing account number. Additional characters will appear in front of the existing bank account number and the whole sequence of alpha numeric digits will be known as the IBAN.
An IBAN can always be distinguished from a normal account number by the following: Two letters at the beginning of the IBAN, which refer to the country code where the account resides; two numbers (in the third and fourth position of the IBAN) that represent security digits; four letters (after the security digits) to identify the respective bank (Swift code) where the beneficiary maintains his/her account; and the last 21 numeric digits represent the beneficiary account number.
Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman hailed QCB decision on IBAN and said, “it is a way of uniquely identifying an account to improve efficiency and automate cross-border payments.”
IBAN in Qatar will be 29 alphanumeric characters long consisting of four-character-long International Envelope and 25-character-long Basic Bank Account Number (BBAN). IBAN shall be presented in two formats - electronic and print.
“IBAN is a welcoming development for Qatar banking industry. It is going to enhance the safety and efficiency of electronic banking payments in Qatar. It will also further align the Qatar banking system with the evolving standards applied in other global banking systems,” Dr Seetharaman told Gulf Times yesterday.
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