Qatar Central Bank issues license for digital payments

Central Bank of Qatar issued the first license for digital payments to two companies that provide electronic payment services – I pay and Ooredoo.

The central bank said the license represents a first step to include all companies providing digital payment services under the supervision of the Central Bank of Qatar in order to contribute to the development of the fintech sector and improve financial inclusion. .

It is to highlight that Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup towards the end of 2022. Consequently, the Gulf State is striving to develop its tourism sector, which includes improving its digital payment infrastructure in anticipation of an increase in the number of foreign visitors.

One example is the recent announcement by Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) allowing its customers to pay for transactions with their QIB cards stored in Google Pay where contactless payments are available. QIB introduced Google Pay for debit, credit and prepaid cardholders who can start using their Android and WearOS devices to type and pay on the go.

Other Qatar developments

In June 2022, Qatar National Bank (QNB) launched its Open Banking platform for a wider audience, including banking customers, partners and emerging fintechs in Qatar. QNB is one of the first banks in the region to launch Open Banking services. With this API infrastructure, the bank provides a better banking experience to its customers allowing them to access its core banking systems securely.

Later, in July 2022, QNB also announced the official launch of popular payment methods WeChat Pay and AliPay+. QNB already relied on a wide range of payment methods accepted by its merchant network in Qatar and, through the integration, became the first bank in the country to give customers access to these secure local payment methods.

The partnership between QNB and the two payment methods allows millions of customers to complete their transactions safely, securely and easily. Currently, QNB has over 27,000 employers operating in 1,000 locations and benefits from over 4,700 ATMs for convenience.

The evolution of digital payments in the MENA region

According to a Mastercard study, the adoption of a wider range of digital payment methods is accelerating in the MENA region. 85% of MENA residents used at least one emerging payment method in 2021, including mobile smartphone wallets, Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), biometrics, and wearable technology devices that enable payment.

While traditional payment methods are still popular, one in five consumers (19%) in MENA reported using less cash in 2021. In contrast, 64% of users in MENA (vs. 61% worldwide) have increased their use of at least one digital payment. method in 2021, including digital cards, SMS payments, digital money transfer apps and instant payment services. These behaviors are expected to continue, with comfort and safety being key to growing adoption.

Younger generations have become more digital in their buying and payment behavior, and their engagement and use of emerging digital payment engagement is accelerating at a faster rate than older audiences. Although data security and privacy remain a concern for them, it is lower than for older audiences, and they are more likely to perceive digital tools as secure.

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