The government of the
United Arab Emirates has newly introduced an electronic card
known as the e-Dirham, which is used to pay for government
services. The eDirham was launched on the 3rd of February
2001 to make it easier for the government to collect payments.
Some semi-government organizations and private sector companies
also accept the eDirham. E-Dirham cards can be gotten from
any of the eDirham
of e-Dirham Cards
The first type is known as the ‘Fixed Value’ eDirham card
and is similar to a prepaid card which can hold the following
dirham amounts - 100 / 200 / 300 / 500 / 1,000 / 3,000 / 5,000.
As its name implies, this type of e-Dirham card has a fixed
value, so no additional money can be put into the card. It
is possible to use two eDirham cards to settle the fee of
one government service. Online services are provided by the
government to view
card transactions or check
the balance of a e-Dirham card.
The second type of e-Dirham card is known
as the ‘Government Client’ eDirham card and it was created
for individuals who regularly need to pay for government services.
The card can be obtained by individuals or companies from
any of the e-Dirham member banks and can only be used by the
original cardholder. To apply for the card an individual must
submit an application form and once approved the card is given
to the cardholder with a PIN (Personal Identification Code)
number. The card is currently issued free of charge and contains
a photograph of the card holder. Once issued, the card has
a zero balance and the card holder must transfer funds into
the card at any of the e-Dirham member banks by means of cash
or account transfer.
At the government offices, you normally have to wait in
line to pay for any given service, but the UAE Ministry of
Finance & Industry has introduced the e-Stamp in order
to reduce the large queuing crowds. When visiting a government
office, stop at the typing office next to the building where
application forms are printed out from a Smart Form computer
that has an eDirham POS terminal attached to it. The printed
application forms contain the eStamp on it, indicating all
of the money payments that have been transferred from an eDirham
card. The e-Stamp application form can then be deposited at
any of the various offices.
Current Drawbacks of the e-Dirham
Accessibility of the eDirham - Many of the government
offices don't have an e-Dirham member bank (or even any bank)
in walking distance from the government office, which makes
it difficult for those visiting the government office for
the first time, as well as for individuals who don't have
cars. As the e-Dirham is also not obtainable from all local
banks, individuals are forced to visit an e-Dirham member
bank in order to obtain an e-Dirham card.
Cost of the e-Dirham - It costs
Dhs. 2 to obtain a ‘Fixed Value’ e-Dirham card from an e-Dirham
member bank. Though two dirhams is a small amount of money,
customers shouldn't be forced to pay extra to obtain the card.
The idea of the eDirham was good but the difficulty of
obtaining the card and the extra costs involved in obtaining
it, become disadvantageous to customers.
For more information about the eDirham, you
can visit the eDirham