PMA Launches the IBAN System

Palestine Monetary Authority, PMA, launched the International Bank Account Number (IBAN), proportional to the international standards for bank accounts enumeration in Palestine, which consequently facilitates handling internal and external bank transfers. This will be done through electronic systems and reduction of transfers bounced due to the difference between account numbers. According to this system, electronic money transfers are easily, accurately and reliably done between banks in Palestine and counterparts worldwide who depend on this system, which assists dealing with bank transfers in a way that makes the sending bank check authenticity of the beneficiary’s account, so that refunds due to wrong account numbers would be avoided.

Further, this system is capable of downsizing transfers bounced because of various or different account numbers, which makes it easy to receive and execute transfers electronically, together with brining financial information security and decreasing traditional manual intervention. Banks are to establish and issue IBAN for all clients free of charge and without a need to change basic account numbers.

Dr. Jihad Al Wazir, Governor of PMA, said that introducing IBAN is a strategic initiative that aims at complying the Palestinian banking system with standards adopted by other international banking systems. ‘Approval of IBAN is a step in the right direction towards developing performance and efficiency of electronic payment systems. Adoption of Straight Through Processing (STP) will definitely help enhancement of banking services provided to clients, improve performance, and reduce period needed for executive procedures for each and every transfer. Palestine is country No. six at the Arab level to adopt this system’.

Dr. Al Wazir reiterated that banks operating in Palestine are ready to implement the system as said by PMA instructions, which would improve effectiveness and performance of payment systems and increase accuracy of financial payments passed through advanced payment systems administered by the PMA.

Working in line with this system, individuals or companies outside Palestine shall specify IBAN in payment instructions to beneficiaries, and banks will be responsible for provision of means that facilitate receipt of this information and comprehension of IBAN importance by clients. All clients in Palestine will be provided with 29-digit account number, without changing the original account number at the bank.

The Payment Systems Consultant in PMA, Mr. Taher Nofal, considered the IBAN a system that corresponds with standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which improves efficiency and protection measures for local and international money transferring for electronic payment systems. PMA has registered the Palestinian IBAN at SWIFT International, where Mr. Nofal added that the PMA held meetings with representatives of banks in Palestine to reach the best mechanism to implement the IBAN in Palestine. PMA has also studied advantages and challenges against implementing the system through experience of nearby countries, where this comprehensive study helped finalizing preparations to alter the new system successfully with minimum impediments.

Through this system, the PMA seeks to fortify financial services, improve performance, reduce transfer timespans and increase credibility of financial banking systems done by clients, which would help widespread use of electronic banking services. PMA will hold a wide media campaign to raise awareness about the system as well as the advantages among the public and staff of Banking System and financial institutions.

It should be mentioned that more than fifty countries around the world adopt the IBAN, including UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Tunisia and other countries.