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Al Rayan delays plan to switch off online banking service

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Al Rayan has pushed back the date it plans to shut down its online banking service – a move that will force customers to download its app to carry out their usual transactions.

Last week Al Rayan confirmed it would switch off online banking from 26 February as many customers already use its app which it said is safer and easier.

However, customers took to social media to say they were unhappy by the move to digital only banking and to complain that they had only been given a few days’ notice.

The sharia bank has today announced customers will need to register for the mobile app by 4 March, giving savers an extra week for the move.

All personal banking customers using online savings and current account products will need to download the app on to compatible devices – this means at least version 12 (iOS) and version 8 (Android).

Concerns were originally raised about how savers with older smartphones would access and manage their accounts.

But Al Rayan said existing banking customers will be eligible for a ‘hard-token device’ which will allow them to continue to access accounts via a computer. This is a small handheld device which enables customers to scan an on screen validation code and enter a PIN.

Customers will need to call the bank to check if they’re eligible and if so, it will explain the process over the phone and in written communication. However, Al Rayan is currently experiencing high call volumes, meaning customers may need to wait longer on the line. It said it has increased capacity in its contact centre to deal with the higher than average call wait times.

The bank added only existing online customers will be eligible for a hard-token device.

All new customers who want to open online accounts from 4 March will need to have a compatible smart phone. However, they can also use the bank’s branch network and telephone banking.

There are alternative channels for new and existing customers to manage their accounts including telephone banking, in branch and by post.

All other services, including telephone banking and in-branch services are unaffected by the change.

An Al Rayan spokesperson, said: “Customers need to register for the mobile banking app by 4 March to ensure uninterrupted digital banking, although they can still register to use the app any time after. No customer accounts or banking arrangements will be affected by the switch over to mobile banking whenever they choose to do so.

“The mobile banking app – which has been used by many thousands of Al Rayan Bank’s customers since its launch last year – is more secure, quicker and easier to use. The app ensures all customers have a secure service 24/7 with second factor authentication to improve security. This has been designed and implemented based on demand for more convenient and mobile-led banking services from our customers.

“Existing online banking customers who do not have a compatible smartphone will be able to continue to access their accounts online through a free hard token, which will enable them to continue to access their accounts via a desktop computer.”