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 Audi, Alfa 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 contontactless 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."
You can watch Bank Audi's Randa Bdeir speak to Finextra about the new service here