MasterPass Expansion Continues with UAE Launch (March 10, 2014)
MasterCard plans to roll out its MasterPass mobile wallet platform to the United Arab Emirates later this year. The expansion into the U.A.E., first reported by Gulf News, follows MasterCard’s February launch of MasterPass in Spain. The service debuted in Australia and Canada in early 2013, and has since added new markets, including the U.S., Italy and Sweden.
Michael Miebach, president, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard, told Gulf News that the U.A.E. is a market where contactless payments are in the process of taking off, presenting an opportunity for payment systems like MasterPass, which supports NFC-based in-store transactions as well as online purchases. While the country is wealthy and highly developed, the consumer segment is still dominated by cash and checks, which comprise 90 percent of retail transactions, according to MasterCard. But the payment network has laid significant groundwork for contactless, with 700,000 NFC-enabled cards and 3,000 NFC terminals throughout the U.A.E., according to the report.
MasterCard has been working with mobile network operator Etisalat since 2012 to develop a mobile payment service in the U.A.E. Dubbed Flous, the service launched in Egypt in June 2013, and is awaiting approval from the U.A.E. Central Bank for rollout there, according to Gulf News.