Bank Association Confirm Muqee Cards Acceptance
Banks have denied they are encountering problems in updating the accounts of new Muqeem card holders, but acknowledged the absence of coordination mechanisms with the Ministry of Interior concerning the identity documents.
Customers had alleged that some banks were refusing to accept the new Muqeem card and unfreeze their accounts until they produced an online copy of their renewed iqama.
“Personally, I don’t agree with the argument that clients are facing problems with banks because of the new residency identity, particularly with regard to the freezing and removing the accounts after the expiry date of the residency card,” Talat Hafiz, secretary-general of Media & Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi Banks, was quoted as saying by local media. “Banks, in general, follow the stipulated articles and paragraphs issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) in opening and operating bank accounts,” he said.
Hafiz said that the bank accounts must be updated at least once in five year, regardless of the date of expiry of official and legal documents used for opening the account. On the importance of direct linkage between Saudi banks and the Ministry of Interior concerning the validity date of the personal identity card for citizens and residents, he said: “Up to this moment, this linkage between banks and the ministry has not been implemented, either for the Saudi national identity or the residency card for expatriates.”
He stressed that the client should come in person to the bank to update his personal and bank account data periodically, and not on a daily basis.
“The client should come in person to the bank in two situations — when the validity of the official documents used to open the account has expired or that five years have passed since opening the account,” he said.
SAMA has recently set out the regulations, rules and standards to control the operations of every commercial bank in the Kingdom. It has stipulated that opening of bank accounts of all types must be accompanied by agreements clarifying the obligations and rights of both the bank and the client. Besides, it is required to provide a valid and official identity card by the client such as the national identity card issued by the civil status department for Saudis and the residency book for foreigners legally residing in the Kingdom.
The regulations require updating the data of clients such as his or her postal address, signature form and main and additional sources of income.
Banks must, according to the regulations, notify the clients a month before freezing their accounts, and put in place the programs, procedures and means that should realize these procedures for every client or his or her mandate individually, and to document these policies and the applicable operations.