Over 500,000 bounced cheques were reported in the UAE during the first five months of 2018, the country’s Central Bank recently announced.
RELATED: Did you know some insurance policies come with income protection that can help you avoid bounced cheques? Click here to compare the best insurance policies in the UAE
These bounced cheques amounted to a total value of AED 26.2 billion, the UAE Central Bank said.
While these sound like stratospheric numbers, the Central Bank said that the number of people bouncing cheques had actually declined during this period of the year. During the first five months of 2017, 546,000 bounced cheques worth AED 28.9 billion were reported.
Plus, the numbers are pretty small in the context of the UAE’s entire cheque clearing system. The Central Bank said that 12 billion cheques had passed through the system during the first five months 2018 – and that they were worth AED 592 billion.
That’s just under 40% of the total number value of cheques that passed through the clearing system during the whole of 2017, which saw values of AED 1.5 trillion being processed by the end of the year.
SEE ALSO: The UAE’s new banking fee caps explained
While bounced cheques still result in pretty severe penalties for UAE residents – compared to many other countries – the Dubai Public Prosecution last year relaxed some of the rules.
Today, a bounced cheque no longer automatically results in prosecution through the courts system; bounced cheques of up to AED 200,000 can instead be dealt with through fines. You may still face trouble travelling if you bounce a cheque below AED 200,000 – and your UAE credit score will suffer badly – but you will at least avoid jail time.