Cutting-edge technology will allow consumers to conduct daily transactions safely, quickly and easily with a simple tap of their phone

   To tweet this news, copy and paste: #MasterCard, #Bank Audi, #Alfa and #Touch turn #smartphones into payment tools. All it takes is a tap! http://mstr.cd/1liBtlS 

Barcelona, Spain – Soon shoppers in Lebanon will no longer have to fumble through their pockets for cash, coins or even a card when paying for purchases. MasterCard has partnered with Bank AudiAlfa and Touch, to introduce an innovative new cashless mobile payment solution: Tap2Pay service that allows consumers to conduct daily transactions safely, quickly and easily. This latest evolution in mobile payments uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to provide consumers with a hassle-free way to conduct everyday transactions – all it takes is a simple tap of their smartphone!

The partnership to launch this new service was signed during the Mobile World Congress that took place in Barcelona, Spain on Monday 24th February in the presence of Ann Cairns, President, International Markets, MasterCard.

“As a technology company in the payments industry, MasterCard is working closely with Lebanon’s market leaders to develop and introduce innovative and smart payment solutions that meet the needs of consumers. Whether enabled via a phone, card, key fob, mobile payment tag or other device, MasterCard’s contactless technology offers a simple, easy and convenient way to pay by simply tapping common smart devices on a specially-equipped merchant terminal. Through this partnership, we will be introducing innovative solutions like these, which are ideal for traditional cash-heavy environments looking to progress towards a world beyond cash,” said Basel El Tell, Market Manager, Levant, MasterCard.

In addition to providing value-added benefits to cardholders, the contactless payment solution- which will be available later this year – will also enable merchants to operate more efficiently, reduce the risks associated with cash handling, and differentiate themselves from competitors.  Currently there are 2,100 contactless terminals across Lebanon that have the capacity to accept NFC payments available at a wide range of locations including supermarkets, retail stores, gas stations, restaurants, theatres and tourist attractions.  As Bank Audi ramps up investment to roll out new terminals, this number is set to increase to 3,000 by the end of this year.

To pay using the new Tap2Pay service, Bank Audi customers holding an NFC-enabled smartphone will simply need to tap their phones at any MasterCard contactless Point-of-Sale (PoS) and they can walk away with their purchase.

Randa Bdeir, Group Head of e-Payment Solutions & Card Services at Bank Audi sal, said: “As a leading financial institution in Lebanon, we remain committed to enhancing the customer experience while supporting the nation in its efforts to modernize infrastructure and staying ahead of the industry. This latest evolution in mobile payments, which we will introduce in partnership with MasterCard, Alfa and Touch, is the first NFC mobile payment service in the region which is built on a Mobile SIM and includes a MasterCard PayPass smart card chip.  The Tap2Pay service will allow cardholders to leave their cards and cash at home and pay for goods efficiently and securely using their smartphone at any MasterCard contactless payment terminal at retailers in Lebanon and around the world”.

Mobile users of Alfa and Touch, the two leading mobile operators in Lebanon, will be the first to experience this cutting-edge technology. The user interface which was developed by Gemalto for Touch SIM cards, and by Oberthur Technologies for Alfa SIM cards will allow cardholders to pay with their NFC enabled mobile phones, check their transactions history and change their passwords.

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 endeavor. 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 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 @MasterCardNews@MasterCardMEA join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Contacts
Sahira Ladha, sladha@golinharris.ae +971 56 734 8079

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 Alfa
Alfa is the first Lebanese mobile network owned by the Republic of Lebanon and managed by Orascom Telecom, Media and Technology (OTMT). Alfa capitalizes on the vast know-how and international expertise of OTMT in order to deliver quality and professional solutions for the mobile sector in Lebanon. On October 25, 2011, Alfa was the first mobile operator to launch 3G+ mobile broadband services in Lebanon. In a new technological achievement, Alfa has become the first operator that launches 4G-LTE commercially in Lebanon on May 152013. Alfa currently serves over 1.85 million subscribers and its network covers 99% of Lebanon.

For more information, please visit: www.alfa.com.lb

About Orascom Telecom Media and Technology
OTMT is a holding company that has investments in companies with operations mainly in Egypt, North Korea, Pakistan, Lebanon and other North African and Middle-Eastern countries. The activities of OTMT are mainly divided into its GSM, media and technology and cable businesses. The GSM activities include mobile telecommunications operations in Egypt, North Korea and Lebanon. The media and technology division consists of OT Ventures/Intouch Communications Service and the OT Ventures Internet portals and other ventures in Egypt, including LINK Development, ARPU+ and LINKonLINE. The cable business focuses on the management of cable network

About Touch
Touch is the leading mobile telecommunications operator in Lebanon that manages one of the mobile networks owned by the government of Lebanon. touch has a dominant market share of 53% and is managed by Zain Group which operates in 8 countries across the Middle East and Africa. touch is committed to delivering high value telecommunication services and experiences through partnering with renowned technology and business partners catering to the needs of various Lebanese market segments.

For more information, please visit: www.touch.com.lb

About Zain
Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to over 46.1 million active customers as of 31 December, 2013. With a commercial presence in 8 countries, Zain operates in: Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan. In Lebanon, the Group manages ‘touch’ on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain has a 15.5% stake in ‘INWI’, through a joint venture. Zain is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (stock ticker: ZAIN).