MasterPass MWC2014

MasterPass Arrives in UAE

MasterPass, MasterCard, NFC, Finance, Mobile World Congress, UAE, Gulf News, Etisalat,

MasterCard’s MasterPass mobile payments platform hits the UAE this year

While the United Arab Emirates is a hotbed for sophisticated technology adoption in both businesses and society itself, MasterCard has curiously not released its MasterPass payments security into the region. That, however, is all set to change as Gulf News reports that MasterPass will arrive later this year.

MasterPass has already rolled out in the US, UK, Australia and Canada, and now it means that mobile payment users in the UAE can make use of this digital wallet to store card details – saving the need to enter them again and again when buying products online.

This should, no doubt, be a popular move for MasterCard,  as NFC payments have really taken off in the area over the last year or so. MasterCard already have around 3,000 NFC terminals in the region, with 700,000 NFC-enabled cards too. That may seem rather disproportionate, and you’d be right, but the interest for the technology is most certainly there.

While NFC cards may be prevalent in the region, NFC enabled phones aren’t. MasterCard is hoping that MasterPass will help encourage the adoption of NFC-enabled phones, allowing users to combine their contactless cards to the service too.

Speaking to Gulf News, Michael Miebach, president of MasterCard Middle East and Africa, said about potential partnerships, “we are partnering with Bank Audi and telco operators (Alfa and Touch) to introduce the service and the deal was signed at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress.”

“We have a set of innovative telcos in the region and are in talks with all the operators to launch this service,” he continued.

Still, there’s the issue of what will happen with MasterCard’s previous partner, Etisalat, who offers mobile payments through it’s “Flous” service. Although, as it currently stands, Etisalat are still awaiting the UAE Central Bank’s approval for launching NFC services within the region.

Does this sound like good news for the UAE payments space? Or is NFC destined to die out thanks to BTLE services instead?


[Image: MasterCard News - Flickr]

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