Emirates NBD unveils 'Cheque Chain' to curb potential fraud
Marking a new milestone, Emirates NBD, a regional banking pioneer in blockchain technology, announced on Monday the launch of another initiative - Cheque Chain. The new initiative will integrate blockchain technology into cheques to strengthen their authenticity and minimise potential fraud, the bank said.
"This is the beginning of a significant strategy by Emirates NBD to integrate blockchain technology into existing products and services, with the objective to implement global-best digital security systems in line with the digitalisation of its products, processes 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 Quick Response (QR) code," the bank 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," the lender said. In October 2016, Emirates NBD, the largest bank in Dubai, launched the bank's pilot blockchain network for banking services, a first for a private sector entity in the UAE. The bank, a front-runner in digital banking solutions and a member of Dubai Future Foundation's Global Blockchain Council, successfully completed a proof of concept blockchain network for international remittances and open account trade finance, in partnership with ICICI Bank Limited, India's largest private sector bank by consolidated assets and Infosys Finacle. Abdulla Qassem, group chief operating officer, Emirates NBD, said. Cheque Chain will bring an added layer of security to the bank's cheque clearing system, and ensure that each cheque issued will be verified under the bank's system with its own unique QR (Quick Response) code providing significant improvement in cheque security.
"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," said Qassem.
The bank said the first phase of the initiative will see the printing of a unique QR code 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.
Additionally, a string of 20 random characters will be added on the MICR (Magnetic ink character recognition) band of the cheque leaf using non-MICR ink. The MICR band, is a character-recognition technology used mainly by the banking industry to ease the processing and clearance of cheques and other documents. It is found at the bottom of cheques and other vouchers and typically includes document indicators like bank code, bank account number, cheque number, cheque amount etc.
The Cheque Chain initiative is the beginning of a significant strategy by Emirates NBD to integrate blockchain technology into existing products and services, with the objective to implement global-best digital security systems in line with the digitalisation of its products, processes 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 code. - firstname.lastname@example.org