Beirut, Lebanon: You can now turn your smartphone into a credit card, following the launch of Bank Audi’s Tap2Pay NFC (Near Field Communication) Mobile Payment service, a new innovative payments solution that is a first for Lebanon and the region.

The Tap2Pay service was launched during a press conference at the Bank Audi Plaza at Bab Idriss, under the patronage of the Ministry of Telecommunications and in partnership with MasterCard and the two main mobile operators in Lebanon, Alfa and Touch.

With an objective to enhance the adoption of electronic payment solutions, Bank Audi is introducing a series of Tap2Pay contactless payment services in Lebanon and in the region through different devices. These include cards (launched in 2013), mobiles (for NFC-enabled smartphone users), stickers (for non NFC-enabled mobile users), and watches and bracelets (for the youth segment).  Furthermore Bank Audi is also working towards modernising the country’s payments infrastructure by distributing contactless reader machines to merchants across Lebanon.

Randa Bdeir, Group Head of e-Payment Solutions and Card Services at Bank Audi, seized the occasion to underline that “the growing number of mobile subscribers, both locally and internationally (4.2 billion worldwide, of which 3.8 million in Lebanon), is a significant indicator that has led Bank Audi and MasterCard to recognize the opportunity that presented itself.” She added: “A mobile phone is no longer used for basic calls and SMS texts; it has become an essential and integral part of everybody’s life. This is why it is time for banks to provide consumers with innovative payment tools that allow them to use their mobile to shop and pay. The Tap2Pay NFC Mobile Payment is a secure, reliable and user-friendly solution that will allow Bank Audi MasterCard cardholders to have their credit card chip embedded on their Alfa or Touch mobile SIM, in such a way as to process their payments swiftly by using their mobile and the NFC technology.”

The Tap2Pay NFC Mobile Payment is faster than using cash or waiting for change. Cardholders can use it at a number of merchant locations in Lebanon and abroad, from major retailers and fast food restaurants to grocery stores, pharmacies and coffee shops. All they have to do is wave their mobile in front of a contactless reader and all the information relative to the credit card will be transmitted via the antenna of the smartphone through the Near Field Communication technology to the reader in seconds.

Commenting on the launch of this new service, Michael Miebach, President, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard, said: “Lebanon is often touted as one of the most advanced countries in the region in terms of adopting new payment technologies and driving innovation. I am confident that with today’s launch of Tap2Pay, the region’s first NFC enabled payments service, we will transform the country’s payments environment for consumers. I wish to congratulate Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications as well as Bank Audi, Alfa and Touch for this splendid achievement. These are exciting times for the people of Lebanon and we are honored to be part of this positive change that will help drive the future growth of Lebanon’s payment landscape.”

Assaad Kairouz, Alfa’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Lebanon offers tremendous opportunities in the mobile innovation space and there is a high customer demand for services that deliver more choices and greater convenience. At Alfa, we are focused on delivering an ever-improving customer experience by anticipating market needs and aligning our infrastructure and systems accordingly. We are confident that the contactless technology, which we will launch with our trusted partners, will help us shape a new payments landscape in Lebanon that brings ease, security and speed to transactions.”

Nadim Khater, Chief Commercial Officer at Touch, said: “Touch is proud to partner with Bank Audi and MasterCard on this innovative venture. MasterCard’s technology and know-how, coupled with Bank Audi’s customer base and merchant network, are key ingredients to a successful payment endeavour. Tap2Pay’s advantage is that it delivers a convenient, fast and secure payment method that is bound to gain popularity with customers.”

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About Bank Audi sal
Bank Audi is a regional group with a universal banking profile. The Bank offers universal financial products and services including Corporate, Commercial, Individual, Investment, and Private Banking services. As at end-December 2013, Bank Audi’s consolidated assets reached USD 36.1 billion, principally driven by private customers’ deposits of USD 31.1 billion, with shareholders’ equity reaching USD 2.7 billion. Bank Audi’s group staff headcount exceeds 5,800 employees and its shareholders’ base encompasses more than 2,500 holders of common shares and/or holders of Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) representing common shares.

Bank Audi ranks first among Lebanese banks and is positioned in the inner circle of top regional banking groups. Its shares are listed on the Beirut Stock Exchange. Its GDRs are listed on both the Beirut Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, please visit: www.banqueaudi.com

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardMEAjoin the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the MEA Engagement Bureau.

Contacts
Sherif Zaki, szaki@golinharris.ae +971501551328

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