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The UAE Federal Feedback Gateway

Emirates Energy Award

Payment and Settlement Systems


As payment systems are vitally important for the financial sector - and the economy as a whole - the Central Bank plays a leading role in the establishment, development, operation and oversight of payment systems in the UAE.

Central Bank Systems

 The Central Bank owns and operates the UAE's most important payment systems:

• UAEFTS, which processes high-value payments
• ICCS, the cheque clearing system
• UAESWITCH, the national ATM-sharing scheme

Minimum Participation Requirements in the related Payment Systems


UAEFTS – UAE Funds Transfer System

 The UAE Funds Transfer System (UAEFTS) is the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system of the United Arab Emirates, hosted by the Central Bank of the UAE.  The system has been operational since August 25, 2001.  The latest edition, UAEFTS 3.0, has been functioning since March 2012.  The system facilitates the transfer of funds between banks and other financial institutions in the UAE via their accounts held with the Central Bank. The objective is to provide a system that enables entities of all sizes to participate, irrespective of their size or nature of business.

In an RTGS transfer, requests submitted by participants are queued for immediate action by the system.  Processing and final settlement of transfer instructions take place continuously, in real time.  Transfers are settled individually without netting debits against credits.  Authorized users of the requesting participant can review the status of their requests throughout business hours.  Once a transfer request is processed, the system sends to all participants affected by the transfer. Payment instructions are irrevocable and final.

The UAEFTS provides full straight through processing (STP) of payment requests by enabling processing of prescribed message formats using Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).  In addition to this UAEFTS also allows messages to be keyed-in using a web-browser interface named the UAEFTS Transactions & Enquiry Portal (TEP).
The salient features of the UAEFTS are:

  • Full straight through processing (STP) support
  • Well defined message formats
  • Multi-currency support (AED, USD & EUR)
  • Value dating up to 120 days with delete facility
  • Debit Confirmation & Credit Notification for every financial transfer

As of June 2013 a total of 108 Entities participate in the UAEFTS (52-Banks;4-Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFC);5-3rd Party Service Providers & 47-Exchange Houses).
UAEFTS Processes around 1.2 million customer credit transfers and 3,500 institutional credit transfers monthly.



ICCS (Image Cheque Clearing System) was introduced in July 2008 The objective of the Image Cheque Clearing System is to allow for the truncation of cheques at the point of acceptance whilst providing a safe, secure, efficient and robust payment mechanism in the United Arab Emirates. Banks will settle cheques issued on accounts held by them based on electronic images of these cheques.  ICCS reduces the dependence of the payment infrastructure on the physical movement of paper, and therefore facilitates shorter clearing and settlement cycles. It also facilitates quicker realization of funds on these items. Cheques deposited at the teller counters at any bank-branch by 10am get cleared at 5pm the same day.

The model adopted by the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) is one where a cheque envelope (CE) encapsulates the images of the individual items. A Presenting Bank generates the CE for delivery to the Issuing Bank. CBUAE plays the vital role of ensuring that delivery and settlement happens in a timely, predictable and efficient manner. CBUAE is the Clearing House for all cheques, acting as the intermediary for all data and image flow between the collecting and paying bank.

CBUAE also acts as the national central archive for all items delivered via the Image Cheque Clearing System (ICCS). The ICCS Cheque Archive is available to all banks, providing access to the images of cheques cleared via ICCS. Individual items within the archive will be available to the Presenting Bank, the Issuing Bank and the Clearing House.

As of June 2013 the ICCS has 82 Direct Participants (56 are BANKS, 22 Ministries, 4 Non-Banking Finance Companies) and clears an average of ~ 2 million items per month.



Launched in 1996, the UAESWITCH scheme now comprises 43 member banks and over 4,500 ATMs. Through its connection to GCCNET, UAESWITCH allows cardholders to obtain service at ATMs throughout the Gulf region.

Use of the network has grown over the years so that monthly transaction volumes are over 1.3 million balance enquiries and 5.2 million cash withdrawals worth AED 7.9 billion.



The Wages Protection System (WPS) was implemented at the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) to meet the desired objectives of the Ministry of Labour (MOL).  The objective of UAEWPS is to provide a Safe, secure, efficient and robust mechanism to streamline the timely payment of wages to employees by their employers.  The UAEWPS has been adopted by other authorities in the UAE such as Economic Zones World (EZW).

The model adopted by CBUAE is one where information flows from the employer to one or more of the contracted agents for payment of the wages to their employees.  Funds from the employers are secured by CBUAE prior to dispatching the wages information to the agents.

The system shall empower CBUAE, and thereby the LRA, with the functionality that would allow effective monitoring of the payment of wages by the employers to their respective employees.  WPS shall provide the required functionality to:

  • Record entities in an industry standard data base for future reporting and maintenance.
  • Create “virtual” accounts for the required entities to facilitate the monitoring of fund flows.
  • Accept fund transfer from the employer’s bank and onward transfer to the agents with balances maintained at employee level.
  • Provide salary details pertaining to the employees to specific agents.
  • Receive and process:
    • Receipt confirmations from agents against wages to be paid to employees.
    • Disbursement information provided by the agents against wages that the agents have paid out to the employees.
    • Refund requests from employers.
    • Refund responses from agents.
  • Provide data feeds to LRA on a frequent basis to enable effective monitoring.

The UAEWPS has been processing salaries since 1st October 2009 and as of June 2013 has a total of 108 Entities participate in the UAEWPS (52-Banks;4-Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFC);5-3rd Party Service Providers & 47-Exchange Houses).



Last Updated on 12, July 2018