DUBAI, April 9 The United Arab Emirates central
bank said on Tuesday it was introducing a direct debit system
for commercial banks, a step which could ease a major problem
for foreign businessmen operating in the country.
The system, to start on June 15, will let customers make
regular, automatic payments from their bank accounts towards
mortgage loans, credit card payments and personal loan
instalments, the central bank said.
In the absence of such a system, post-dated cheques are
frequently used in the UAE as guarantees by businesses and
individuals. For foreign nationals, bouncing the cheques is a
criminal offence rather than a merely civil one, causing some
foreigners to be jailed.
The UAE's tough penalties for defaulting on cheques were
relaxed for local citizens last October after a royal decree was