The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) launched a nationwide NFC-based system in an attempt to increase the uptake of mobile payments in the country, Financial Tribune reported.

Named Tap-and-Go, the government-owned bank said the service will initially be available using an Android app and utilise a handset’s NFC chip to connect with POS terminals used by retailers throughout the country.

Following the Android launch, the CBI plans to release a QR code based system – similar to that used in China for Alipay and WeChat Pay – for use with Apple devices.

Eventually, the CBI plans to expand the scope of mobile services to enable their use on ATMs for cash withdrawals.

Banks and mobile operators in the country have previously launched similar systems in the country but, according to the CBI’s technology partner Shaparak Company, these deployments were targeted at a limited audience.

Conversely, it said Tap-and-Go would see “rather fast” progress as it wasn’t tied to a specific service provider and was the country’s first large scale NFC-based mobile payment system deployment.

Announcing the scheme, CBI section head Nasser Hakimi said the use of its mobile payments system provided a much more secure way of performing transactions compared to bank cards, due to the multiple security layers built into it.