Payment Systems Oversight and Information Security


The Central Bank established the Payment Systems Oversight Unit (PSOU) in April, 2009 to ‘supervise payment systems in general and to ensure their efficiency and compliance with the Core Principles for Systemically Important Payment Systems issued by the Bank for International Settlements’.

In 2012 the BIS’s Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems replaced the Core Principles with the far more comprehensive Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures (PFMI). The PFMI address legal, governance, financial, operational, business and market risks; each category of risk is defined according to a range of ‘Key Considerations’ which, taken as a whole, make for a very consistent and prescriptive body of standards.


A 'systemically important' payment system is one in which the failure of one participant could cause the failure of another or else have serious consequences throughout the financial market. The PSOU recognizes two systemically important payment systems in the UAE: The UAE Funds Transfer System (UAEFTS) and the Image Cheque Clearing System (ICCS).


As far as other systems are concerned – such as direct debits and payment cards – the PSOU assesses these as prominent on account of their importance or convenience to the public. The PSOU uses the PFMI to assess ‘prominent’ systems but may allow more flexibility in, say, when instances of non-compliance should be addressed.

  1. FMIs should be subject to appropriate and effective regulation, supervision and oversight
  2. The Central Bank should have the powers and resources to carry out effectively their responsibilities in regulating, supervising and overseeing FMIs
  3. The Central Bank should clearly define and disclose its policies in regulating, supervising and overseeing FMIs
  4. The Central Bank should adopt the PFMI and, as a minimum, apply them consistently to all systemically important payment systems

5. The Central Bank should cooperate with relevant domestic and international regulators to promote the safety and efficiency of payment systems.

The PSOU takes a broad approach to its responsibilities. Thus, in addition to oversight of systems it regulates service providers such as the card schemes and promotes improvements to the market such as diversity, competition and consumer protection.


Payment Systems Oversight Unit - Operational Framework.

Payment Systems Oversight Unit – PFMI Assessment Methodology.


The PSOU welcomes your comments and feedback. Please address these to (this e-mail address is protected from ‘spambots’).