Urgent UAE: Banks retroactively deduct 159 dirhams as a fee for low “balance”

Abdallah Shahin - | Business

The traders stated that the banks they work with retroactively deducted a fee for a period of six months for the minimum balance in their bank accounts falling below 3,000 dirhams. They pointed out that they opened those accounts and did not use them for approximately a year, and then they reactivated them so that they could be used for withdrawals and deposits.

The customers explained that the discount, which was applied retroactively for a period of six months, was 159 dirhams, and two weeks later, another amount that was comparable to that was deducted. They also mentioned that the customer service centers that they contacted informed them that the amount was a fee for the decrease in the minimum balance for a period of one year that they had not utilized. Where exactly are their bank accounts located? The fact that "these accounts are for savings, not current, or for the purpose of transferring salaries" was emphasized by them.

In response, two bankers stated that banks have the authority, in accordance with the system that has been in place since 2011, to levy a fee of 26.5 dirhams, which includes tax, if the balance is less than 3,000 dirhams. This is in contrast to the situation in which customer banks are exempt from these fees, which is a service or advantage. They also advised customers to select... The banks who do not levy this fee, or that make certain that their balance does not go below 3,000 dirhams, and that permanently close them if they are not used, in order to prevent fees from accumulating on them, are the ones that provide this service.

According to Mustafa Ahmed, a banker, "Banks typically do not differentiate between a savings account and a current account when it comes to the imposition of a fee if the minimum balance falls below 3,000 dirhams." However, some of these banks exempt customers from the fee, which is an advantage for the purpose of transferring a salary or moving away from a bank.

He continued by saying, "The balance is typically negative, but it does not appear to the customer; rather, it appears on the system of the bank." This is because the fee is accumulated each month even though there is no balance in the bank account. Consequently, the negative balance is covered as soon as any payment is transferred to the account, taking into consideration the fact that banks delay collection. All of this is retroactively applied to the whole amount, and some people take the fees that are due for six months, and after the time of fees for the remaining six months, the complete amount.

If a customer wants to create a savings account or make sure that their balance does not drop below 3,000 dirhams, Ahmed recommended that they select a bank that does not charge this fee. This is a service that the bank provides to its customers.

The banker stated that in accordance with the system that has been in place since 2011 and was established by the Central Bank, banks have the authority to levy a fee of 26.5 dirhams, which includes tax, if the balance is less than 3,000 dirhams.

In response, a banker named Nadia Amer stated, "The value of the fee deducted from the account retroactively is only done in banks that impose a fee if the balance falls below 3,000 dirhams, and the employee at the dealing bank typically informs the client of this when opening the bank account. However, some customers mistakenly believe that not using the account will result in the fee being deducted from the account." It is a common misconception that banking does not come with the imposition of a monthly fee. However, this is not the case. Bank accounts, so long as they are functional and the customer is able to use them for a variety of banking services, have the authority to impose a monthly fee, or deduct it from any amounts that are deposited into the bank account retroactively.

She went on to say that banks carry the costs of protecting bank accounts from being hacked and ensuring the security of transactions that take place on such accounts. When this occurs, it is imperative that accounts not be opened and then left idle for an extended length of time. In this particular scenario, it is in everyone's best interest to permanently close them down, so that they are not exploited and fees are not accumulated on them.

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Abdallah Shahin
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