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Emirates NBD launches new blockchain initiative to minimize cheque fraud
UAE’s leading banking group Emirates NBD has announced the launch of a new initiative that will integrate blockchain technology into cheques to strengthen their authenticity and minimise potential fraud.
Called ‘Cheque Chain’, the initiative marks the beginning of a significant strategy by Emirates NBD to integrate blockchain technology into existing products and services. Going forward, it will also be possible to validate the cheque at source either through self-service or at presenting bank using the QR (Quick Response) code, the official release said.
“Having established our leadership in the UAE banking sector in exploring the potential of blockchain technology, we are delighted to be the first bank in the country to utilise this remarkable new technology to strengthen and upgrade our internal processes. The launch of this initiative is also in line with our commitment to customers to prevent fraud and ensure the security and safety of their transactions at all times”, Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer, Emirates NBD said.
Emirates NBD plans to introduce the Cheque Chain initiative to its employees during the pilot phase, ahead of the customer roll later this year. During the first phase, a unique QR code will be printed on every leaf of the newly issued cheque books, thereby reducing fraud by making it difficult to forge cheques.
In subsequent phases, the QR code will register each cheque on the bank’s blockchain platform, ensuring that once the cheque is received and cleared under the bank’s ICCS technology, the bank staff will be able to validate the cheque’s authenticity and have access to its source at all times. In addition, a string of 20 random characters will be added on the MICR (Magnetic ink character recognition) band, a character-recognition technology, of the cheque leaf using non-MICR ink.
“Cheque Chain will bring an added layer of security to our cheque clearing system, and ensure that each cheque issued will be verified under the bank’s system with its own unique QR code providing significant improvement in cheque security”, Qassem said.
The bank said that it has begun a pilot phase for the new cheque books with its own employees to assess its execution and revise any changes that need to be made to the technology.