HE Younis Haji Al Khoori, Director General of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and HE Saif Al Shehhi, General Manager, Domestic Banking, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, launched the 2nd generation e-Dirham cards (Blue Card) with a live demonstration of the system conducted at MoF headquarters at Abu Dhabi today. The new e-Dirham cards are expected to raise public service standards, enhance efficiency, innovation and professionalism of Government services. National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) is the official MoF partner for the cards and STS is the developer of the card system.
The live demonstration was conducted in the presence of Faisal Al Mansouri, Director of Revenue Development Department at MoF, Ramzi Zein, Chairman, STS, Coding Technology Services specialists and strategic partner of NBAD and other officials from MoF and NBAD.
An e-services portal was launched for the MoF in conjunction with the new electronic payment gateway for the 2nd generation e-Dirham cards. The e-services portal launched the first service, linked to the Electronic Services portals of the Ministries of Environment and Water and Public Works, allowing payment to be made to the Ministry.
The Blue Card has six different colored card options under the name of "Al Haselah" a word that means collector in UAE’s dialect. These cards will be released in tandem with the completion of each phase of services.
The launch began by NBAD presenting the first Blue Card that is twinned with Visa, to MoF. The first card was issued in the name of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance. HE Younis Haji Al Khoori received the card on behalf of HH Sheikh Hamdan.
HE Younis Haji Al Khoori and HE Saif Al Shehhi, accompanied by the attendees, activated their new card and charged it at the ATM. They then performed the first transaction with the Blue Card and demonstrated the successful working of the system. Consultant Imad Abdel Wahab, Project Manager, Ministry of Finance, then made a live presentation with a MoF client, Hosni Mubarak Ahmad institution, successfully paying suppliers and contractors and renewing his registration.
The 2nd generation e-Dirham system is one of the most convenient means of payment devised by the MoF to facilitate the collection of the general revenues of UAE through a safe payment method. It also encourages the use of plastic money and e-transfers. A prepaid magnetic Visa Card, The Blue Card is a new concept in electronic payments in the UAE but it has proven its value by being used in more than 24 million outlets around the world.
Demonstrating the workings of the 2nd generation e-Dirham system by charging his card and paying for a purchase at the NBAD ATM, HE Younis Haji Al Khoori said: “The 2nd generation of e-Dirham is, without a doubt, a remarkable achievement in MoF’s revenue collection drive through e-services. It offers new services and provides a safe and efficient alternative to traditional means of revenue collection.”
HE Saif Al Shehhi, General Manager, Domestic Banking, National Bank of Abu Dhabi said: “This moment culminates the efforts of the strategic partnership between the NBAD and MoF. We began in July 2009 by signing the agreement for managing and operating the 2nd generation e-Dirham system. The system will facilitate the payment for the electronic services provided by subscribing ministries, federal agencies, local governmental departments, institutions and private sector companies. It facilitates e-Shopping, online payment and purchase of goods in shops that receive local and international Visa cards.”
Mr. John Malouf, General Manager of Consumer Banking at NBAD said: “The 2nd generation e-Dirham card (Blue Card), prepaid and valid for two years, is known for its broad acceptance all over the world and for allowing safe shopping via the Internet. It also allows cash withdrawals and deposits from ATMs and Cash Deposits Systems. It allows complete control on spending by consumers as there is no overdraft, monthly payment or finance charge. The system speeds up registration and recharging procedures as there is no need for a bank account to use it. On registering and charging an e-Dirham account, the card is ready to use and can be recharged at any NBAD branch or through any deposit machine. The 2nd generation of e-Dirham card (Blue Card) is a suitable solution for UAE visitors, and can be used as an alternative to debit and credit cards while providing currency exchange fees savings and e-Government payments.
Faisal Al Mansouri, Director of Revenue Development Department at MoF said; "We have worked hard for more than two years to create a new systems for the 2nd generation e-Dirham system and develop its brand while adding a variety of UAE customized e-Services to the system. These services, to be announced in due course over 2010 and 2011, will satisfy most of the requirements of users, especially of visitors to the UAE. The Blue Card is an intelligent, economic and limited money alternative to carrying cash and allows users to pay for their purchases locally and globally through any ATM that accepts Visa cards. It allows full control over spending. Other smart cards, which will be launched later, will be characterized by high limits of charge amounts and will be suitable for large-value payments related to federal government services. Cardholders can choose to charge the card with amounts between AED 100 and AED 20.000.”
He concluded: “The 2nd generation e-Dirham card (Blue Card) allows users to supervise remaining balance and transactions via Card Movements Notification SMS, query service via toll-free number 800MOF (800 663), through the website www.nbad.com or at branches of NBAD Bank.”