Etisalat's NFC service will initially be available on BlackBerry 9900 devices

UAE operator Etisalat has teamed up with MasterCard Worldwide to launch cashless mobile payments programme in the country.

The system uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to authorise everyday transactions via a smartphone. Consumers will be prompted to enter a PIN on their mobile phone before completing a transaction.

The NFC service was developed in conjunction with Network International, Oberthur Technologies and Research in Motion (RIM).

It will initially be available on BlackBerry Bold 9900 devices but will later include all phones with near field communication (NFC) technology. It will allow users to pay for purchases of up to $50 by swiping their mobile phone at MasterCard purchase points.

“This is just the beginning of a new era in how we make payments in the UAE,” said Rashid Al Abbar, VP for home products at Etisalat. “Soon your mobile will buy you lunch, a cinema ticket, transport and much more. It could become the single solution for many of your purchase needs in the very near future.”

Sandeep Saihgal, managing director at RIM Middle East, added: “NFC technology is set to be a major market mover for the mobile sector over the next five years and RIM is working in close collaboration with Etisalat and MasterCard to help make the concept of mobile commerce become a reality in the UAE.”

“The new line-up of BlackBerry 7 smartphones includes various models that are NFC-enabled and demonstrates RIM’s commitment to enabling NFC-based experiences on BlackBerry.”

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