Mobile operator Etisalat has announced a partnership with credit card giant MasterCard to launch NFC-based mobile payment services via BlackBerry handsets in the United Arab Emirates. Consumers will make payments by tapping their BlackBerry at MasterCard PayPass terminals in the UAE. Etisalat is pushing hard with introducing NFC in the markets where it is present. This summer it claimed the first commercial launch in Africa based on NFC technology for its Zantel subsidiary in Tanzania. Its partners on that launch also included MasterCard, as well as French card vendor Oberthur Technologies which is involved in UAE too.
The UAE announcement says consumers can link Paypass-enabled credit, debit or prepaid MasterCard accounts to their mobile phone to fund payments. No mention is made of consumers being able to use any rival cards to make payments. To offer additional reassurance about the service’s security, consumers must enter an additional PIN on the mobile phone before completing a transaction. Although this approach offers peace of mind it does slowdown transaction speed, a key attraction of NFC-based services. UAE-based payment solutions provider Network International and Oberthur Technologies were also involved in supplying underlying technology for the service.