Leading Edge Mobile Payments Application Launched at QITCOM 2012

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Doha, Qatar 6th March 2012 Qatar National Bank (QNB) Group, Qtel, Oberthur Technologies and MasterCard Worldwide, https://newsroom.mastercard.com, today announced the launch of the first mobile Near Field Communication (NFC) payments program in Qatar as the result of a strategic collaboration.

This announcement 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.

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 at City Center, The Mall, Villagio or Landmark.  The new SIM or the Sticker can be instantly obtained for free at any of these 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.

“We believe that consumers and merchants in Qatar deserve a secure, convenient and flexible payments option wherever they go,” said Mr. Ali Rashid Al Mohannadi, Executive General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, QNB. “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.”

Waleed Al Sayed, Chief Operating Officer, Qtel Qatar 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.”

Thierry Siminger, Managing Director – RMEA at Oberthur Technologies 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.”

“This payment solution, we believe will reshape the life of cardholders and mobile users in Qatar,” said Michael Miebach, president, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard Worldwide. “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.”

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.

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About QNB Group

Qatar National Bank (QNB), established in 1964 as the country’s first Qatari-owned commercial bank, has an ownership structure split between the Qatar Investment Authority (50%) and the private sector (50%).

QNB Group has steadily grown to be among the largest banks in the Middle East and North Africa Region and is by far the leading financial institution in the country with a market share exceeding 45% of banking sector assets.

QNB Group has witnessed rapid international expansion in the past few years and operates in 24 countries around the world through its network, subsidiaries and associate companies employing about 7,000 staff from 334 branch and offices that are supported by an ATM network that exceeds 600 machines.

The Group has also extended its regional reach by acquiring stakes in various financial institutions including 35% stake in the Jordan-based, The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance (HBTF), 24% in Commercial Bank International (CBI) based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 50% of the Tunisian-Qatari Bank, 23% in the Iraqi-based Mansour Bank and 20% stake in Al Jazeera Finance Company in Doha. QNB Group also retains 51% stake in QNB-Syria, a private stock company established jointly with other Syrian private and public sector institutions which started operations mid November 2009 and operates today more than 15 branches in the Syrian Republic.

QNB Group is among the highest rated regional banks from leading credit rating agencies including Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch, and Capital Intelligence. The Bank has also been the recipient of many awards from leading international specialized financial publications.

QNB Group has an active community support program and sponsors various social, educational, and sporting events.

About Qtel

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) provides both fixed and mobile telecommunications services in the state of Qatar and has a presence in 17 countries. We are committed to expansion both in the MENA region and South East Asia. Our vision is to be among the top 20 telecommunications companies in the world by 2020.

About Oberthur Technologies

Oberthur Technologies is a world leader in the field of secure technologies: systems development, solutions and services for smart cards (payment cards, SIM cards, access cards, NFC…) and for secure identity documents, traditional and electronic (identity card, passport, health care card). Created in 1984, Oberthur Technologies employs 5,700 employees. With 50 sales offices across 5 continents, Oberthur Technologies’ international network serves clients in 140 countries. For more information: www.oberthur.com

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates 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, join the conversation on The Heart of Commerce Blog and subscribe for the latest news.


Georgette Tan, MasterCard Worldwide, +(65) 6390-5971, georgette_tan@mastercard.com

Ghada Khalil, Qatar National Bank, Tel: (+974) 4425 2477; ghada.khalil@qnb.com.qa

Heba Hassan; GolinHarris – Dubai; Tel:  +971 4 3323308;  hhassan@golinharris.com