(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Qatar National Bank (QNB) Group, Qtel, Oberthur Technologies and MasterCard Worldwide Tuesday announced the launch of the first mobile Near Field Communication (NFC) payments program in Qatar following their strategic collaboration.
This signifies the introduction of the first mobile contactless MasterCard PayPass payments program in Qatar via an NFC-enabled mobile phone and the first program to also offer consumers a contactless PayPass 'sticker' in the Middle East and Africa.
The trial launch of the mobile NFC program took place in line with this year's QITCOM Conference and Exhibition in Qatar, strategic collaborates said in a media statement today.
QNB and Qtel customers in Qatar will soon be able to easily turn their mobile phone from Qtel into their credit card. The mobile contactless payments program, will allow consumers in Qatar to make daily payments with just a tap of their NFC-enabled mobile phone (such as the latest Blackberry 9900 and 9790), eliminating the need to fumble for cash and coins, swipe or hand their card over to a store clerk.
QNB and Qtel customers in Qatar using the new Qtel NFC SIM will be given the option to either leverage their existing NFC PayPass capable mobile phone and sign up for a QNB PayPass-enabled Qtel SIM card, or upgrade their phone to one of the latest Blackberry models to utilize the payments service embedded on the new SIM.
QNB customers will also be given the value added option of obtaining a 'sticker' equipped with PayPass technology to affix on their existing mobile phone in order to make payments if they do not have the latest NFC capable mobile phone.
Oberthur, who provides QNB's chip personalization service, worked closely with all parties to develop the payments application on the Qtel NFC-enabled SIM and on the MasterCard PayPass 'sticker'.
QNB customers eager to adopt this latest innovative service can visit the Bank's branches in Doha. The new SIM or the Sticker can be instantly obtained for free at any of the branches, with the service being activated within less than an hour. Customers opting for the SIM will also be able to then swap their old SIM into their newly acquired NFC SIM card, also for free, at the closest Qtel shop. Their mobile number will remain unchanged.
QNB customers will be able to link their contactless-enabled NFC mobile phone to their QNB MasterCard credit card account in order to fund their mobile-initiated payments. Signatures and PINs are not required for purchases of QR100 or less. However, to provide consumers with further protection, they will be prompted to enter a PIN on the PayPass-enabled merchant devices when purchasing items in excess of QR100.
QNB Executive General Manager Chief Operating Officer Ali Rashid Al Mohannadi, said, "We believe that consumers and merchants in Qatar deserve a secure, convenient and flexible payments option wherever they go.
"This mobile NFC program is part of our commitment to enhancing the customer experience and supporting Qatar's vision of becoming a digital economy. We are delighted to spearhead the advancement of the payments landscape in Qatar together with Qtel and MasterCard.
Qtel Qatar Chief Operating Officer Waleed Al Sayed, said, "As one of the markets with the highest mobile penetration in the world, Qatar offers tremendous opportunities in mobile innovation and we know that there is strong customer demand for services that deliver more choice and greater convenience. Qtel is focused upon delivering an ever-improving customer experience for the people of Qatar, and NFC payments will deliver this, enabling people to fully control how, when and where they make their payments. We are delighted to be the first company in Qatar to launch this service, working with other industry leaders such as QNB and MasterCard to help shape the future of mobile payments in Qatar."
Oberthur Technologies Managing Director RMEA Thierry Siminger said, "In order to meet the demand for convergence in mobile and payment industry sectors, our NFC technologies are bridging the gap, allowing our partners to offer consumers an integrated seamless experience in an easy and secure way.
Middle East and Africa, MasterCard Worldwide President Michael Miebach said, "This payment solution, we believe will reshape the life of cardholders and mobile users in Qatar. We're quickly moving into a world beyond plastic, where consumers will shop and pay in a way that best fits their needs and lifestyles with a simple tap, click or touch in-store, online or on a mobile device.
"Solutions such as the QNB Qtel MasterCard and Oberthur Mobile NFC program, allows us to provide a new consumer and merchant experience, while enhancing the value of electronic payments. As a technology company at the forefront of innovation, we are pleased to play a key role in transforming the payments landscape in Qatar together with QNB and Qtel." (END)
Specially equipped MasterCard PayPass contactless Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals will be available across
Qatar, at locations such as cinemas, coffee shops, food corners within large malls starting with City Center and then to be extended to other malls such as Villagio, The Mall. As part of a phased rollout plan, QNB will also work closely with the project principals to provide contactless POS terminals in Qatar's leading smart cities.
Contactless mobile payments provide all players in the payments ecosystem value-added benefits. Merchants will be able to facilitate low value and high value payments across multiple industries, such as at cinemas, fast food outlets and coffee shops, as well as, government departments while serving their customers better through quick-payments. Merchants are also able to function more efficiently, reduce cash handling and competitively differentiate themselves.