Blockchain Check Service Launched By UAE’s Emirates NBD

Announcements, Blockchain, FinTech | April 16, 2018 By:

UAE-based banking group Emirates NBD is rolling out its Cheque Chain platform, a security-enhancing technology that integrates blockchain into checks to strengthen their authenticity and minimize potential fraud.

Emirates NBD is one of the largest banking groups in the Middle East in terms of assets. The bank has operations in the UAE, Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UK, and representative offices in India, China and Indonesia. Currently, more than 9,000 people, representing 70 nationalities, are employed by the bank, making it one of the largest employers in the UAE.

Following a successful pilot last year overseen by Emirates NBD Future Lab, the bank is now launching the solution across the UAE. In its first month, the bank said it registered close to one million leafs using blockchain, and is now exploring the possibility of opening its blockchain platform to collaborate with other UAE financial institutions.

Cheque Chain enables a unique Quick Response (QR) code to be printed on every leaf of newly issued check books. The QR code will register all checks on the bank’s blockchain platform and enable the bank to validate the check’s credibility once they have cleared its Inward Cheque Clearing System. The solution utilizes an additional string of 20 random characters concentrated on the MICR (Magnetic Ink Personality Recognition) band of the check, using non-MICR ink. MICR ink is character recognition technology that is widely used throughout the banking industry to simplify the clearing and processing of checks and other documents.

“Aligned to the Dubai Blockchain Strategy launched by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Emirates NBD is committed to exploring commercial uses for this innovative technology,” said Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer at Emirates NBD. “After a successful pilot phase, we are pleased to roll out Cheque Chain to our customers nationwide, becoming the first bank in the region to offer this service. This initiative will significantly strengthen our risk and security management processes, particularly through the reduction of check fraud.”

Last week, the government of the United Arab Emirates launched the UAE Blockchain Strategy 2021 to help the country save billions on government transactions. Under the strategy, 50 percent of government transactions will adopt blockchain technology over the next three years. This is expected to save AED11 billion ($3B USD) in transactions and documents processed routinely, and 398 million printed documents and 77 million work hours annually.