MasterCard is partnering with wireless operator Etisalat and mobile device manufacturer Research in Motion to launch NFC-enabled mobile shopping services in the United Arab Emirates.
Etisalat will act as the local storefront for the project, providing NFC-equipped BlackBerry phones to consumers.
The souped-up smartphones will give consumers the ability to use their phone as a mobile wallet and link their PayPass-enabled credit, debit or prepaid MasterCard card accounts to the handset.
To make a purchase, consumers will need to tap their phones at a PayPass-enabled point-of-sale terminal and key in a PIN to complete a transaction.
Finextra Verdict: The requirement for PIN input somewhat negates the benefits of the key contactless selling point for faster throughput at the till. The limitations imposed by the choice of smartphone manufacturer and the restrictions implied by the use of a single card scheme network are further barriers to widespread take-up. Yes, it's flesh in the game. And yes, tactical roll-outs can help make a case for the technology. But, no matter the ambitions of the partners, small-scale efforts such as this will surely wilt against the all-encompassing ecosystems currently championed by the likes of Google.