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Etisalat Zantel launches NFC payments in Tanzania

“Operators in African countries such as Tanzania benefit from being able to leapfrog legacy systems and can directly adopt NFC for their customers,” says the mobile network operator.

ZANTEL: NFC can help overcome literacy and education issues

Africa’s first commercial NFC payments service has been launched in Tanzania by Etisalat subsidiary Zantel. The new service is called ‘Touch and Go’ and is designed to build on Zantel’s existing and rapidly expanding zPesa mobile financial service.

“Touch and Go offers a convenient, secure, easy to use and versatile service that anyone can access,” says Essa Al Haddad, chief marketing officer at Etisalat Group. “The secret for the success of this service is the simplicity of the process. A customer can use ‘Touch and Go’ with merchants to purchase goods, services, tickets or even mobile credit top-ups without needing  to type any numbers or complicated commands. The customer just needs to bring device close to the merchant’s point of sale terminal and validate the transaction with a password.”

Zantel’s customers in Tanzania can already use zPesa to perform person-to-person money transfer, merchant/utility payments or banking services from their mobile phones.

“Touch and Go is new, innovative and ideally suited to customers that want to use the technology to complement the existing experience and also to people who will use the service as the sole means of generating an income for their families,” Essa al Haddad continued.

“Operators in African countries such as Tanzania benefit from being able to leapfrog legacy systems and can directly adopt NFC for their customers,” says Etisalat. “In addition to ‘wow’ effect associated with Touch and Go, the new service addresses issues of consumer literacy and education, which represent a major challenge for the take-up of new services especially in the rural communities. Touch and Go’s easy to use interface will enable everyone to enjoy convenient payment services and participate in entrepreneurial activities within their own communities.

“In addition, Touch and Go addresses key challenges of service acceptance to the country’s numerous street merchants. End-to-end transaction time of the process is much faster than traditional mobile financial service offerings or even credit or debit cards and the benefit for the merchant is immediate. With the availability of affordable POS devices, acceptance amongst merchants is expected to be high.”

Etisalat has partnered with Oberthur Technologies and MasterCard for the launch of the new NFC service which, the operator says, “is a precursor to the Etisalat Group’s progressive plans to roll out mobile financial services and NFC technology across its 18 markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.”

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