Explore the intriguing landscape of Dubai’s real estate payments with our article. Despite advancements like the Direct Debit System, cheque books continue to dominate, revealing a complex interplay of tradition and modernity. Join us as we unravel the reasons behind this phenomenon and speculate on the future of real estate transactions in Dubai.

Cheque Books Continue To Dominate Property Payments Despite Direct Debit, Digital Transaction Boom

The Checkered Landscape

In the vibrant city of Dubai, where architectural marvels touch the sky and innovation is a way of life, one might assume that cutting-edge digital payment systems would dominate the real estate arena. However, the reality presents a checkered landscape, with cheque books firmly holding their ground.

The Reign of Cheque Books

Cheque books remain the undisputed champions, constituting over 90 percent of rental payments and major real estate transactions in Dubai. Surprisingly, this trend persists despite the recent introduction of the Direct Debit System (UAEDDS) by the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) in January.

Unraveling the Mystery

Walid Shihabi, co-founder and CSO of the real estate investment platform Keyper, sheds light on this enigma. He attributes the continued use of cheque books to the historical criminality associated with bounced checks and a prevalent distrust in alternative payment methods like bank transfers. Shihabi emphasizes that cheque books offer a level of security and familiarity that other methods struggle to match.

Direct Debit Dilemma

The Direct Debit System (DDS) was introduced with great expectations, particularly through the Noqodi Ejari Direct Debit Service. The aim was clear — provide Dubai residents with an automated payment solution directly from their bank accounts. However, the reality paints a different picture.

Adoption Struggles

Shihabi notes that despite the convenience promised by direct debit and credit card payments, these alternatives have faced significant adoption challenges. The need for registered merchants and the additional costs involved have deterred many from making the shift.

Comfort Zone with Cheque Books

Anisha Sagar, Director of Property Management at Allsopp & Allsopp, views cheque books as a “comfort zone” for Dubai’s real estate transactions. She highlights the hesitancy to embrace credit card payments or bank transfers due to a perceived lack of protection.

Limited Access to Direct Debit

While direct debits have started gaining traction, Sagar emphasizes that the system is currently limited to property management companies. The majority of individual property owners still rely on the traditional method of cheque payments.

The Future Outlook

As Dubai navigates the intersection of tradition and technological advancement, the question arises — will cheque books continue to script the future of real estate payments?

The Evolving Landscape

Sagar envisions a future where the direct debit system extends its reach to a broader audience, offering a streamlined and inclusive solution. However, she acknowledges the entrenched role of cheque books in the rental culture and expects a gradual transition.

Shifting Sands of Consumer Behavior

Ayesha Abbas, Head of Consumer, Private, and Business Banking at Standard Chartered UAE, recognizes the changing financial landscape. The surge in digital transactions is reshaping money management, pushing cheque books to the background. However, she acknowledges the persistent demand for traditional methods, driven by familiarity and comfort.


In the ever-changing dynamics of Dubai’s real estate, cheque books stand resilient, providing a sense of security and familiarity. While the digital wave surges forward, the traditional allure of ink on paper remains. The future might witness a gradual decline in cheque book usage, but for now, they continue to reign supreme.

Read More: Unveiling Mar Casa: Deyaar’s Groundbreaking Seafront Marvel In Dubai


Is the direct debit system available to all property owners in Dubai?

Currently, the direct debit system is limited to property management companies, leaving individual property owners reliant on cheque books.

Will cheque books become obsolete in the future?

While the demand for cheque books is declining, especially among younger generations, their complete obsolescence in the UAE real estate landscape might take time.

What challenges do alternative payment methods face in Dubai’s real estate market?

Alternative payment methods, such as bank transfers and credit card payments, struggle due to the need for registered merchants and additional costs, making cheque books the preferred choice for many.

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