Dubai First and Du to run Middle East’s first NFC payments trial

The bank and the telecoms operator are to run a six month pilot in Dubai, ahead of a commercial NFC launch later this year.

DUBAI TRIAL: 250 Platinum MasterCard holders will try out NFC mobile payments over the next six months
DUBAI TRIAL: 250 Platinum MasterCard holders will try out NFC mobile payments over the next six months

Dubai First and telecoms operator Du are to launch a joint NFC payments pilot, the first to take place in the Middle East, with the aim of a commercial launch at the end of this year.

The pilot will take place in Dubai and will involve 250 customers selected from holders of the new, contactless Dubai First/Dubai Properties Group co-branded Platinum MasterCard. The card is currently available to residents of Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence — the world’s largest single phase construction project comprising more than 40 towers — plus surrounding localities including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Knowledge Village.

Participants in the trial will be able to securely download their credit card to an NFC phone over Du’s mobile network. Once the handset has been personalised, customers will be able to make purchases at MasterCard PayPass enabled merchant locations in the UAE.

“The launch of the NFC payment programme is a landmark in our efforts to bring innovation to credit card customers in the UAE,” says Ibrahim Al Ansari, CEO of Dubai First. “The programme will help us evaluate how customers use this new technology.”

“We believe that mobile payments will play a major role in the future of credit cards,” he added. “Jumeirah Beach Residence is the ideal ecosystem for launching this programme.”

The six month pilot will take place at The Walk, the 1.7 km beachfront shopping promenade located within the Jumeirah Beach Residence complex. As well as making payments with their NFC phones, participants will also be able to access special retailer offers and a range of other promotions.

“The growing sophistication of mobility — in terms of devices and technology — has led to it playing an increasingly important role in people’s lives; rather than exclusively as a means for communication,” says Farid Faraidooni, EVP Commercial at Du . “The NFC pilot programme along with our partner Dubai First signifies the pinnacle of this sophistication; which will now bring users the most innovative and contemporary method for payment in Dubai.”

The NFC initiative will be launched commercially later in the year, the two companies say, and will be expanded “to include several speciality applications”.

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