Qatar is ushering in a new era of digital payments despite maintaining a ban on digital assets, with its central bank kicking off a digital payment service providers licensing regime by issuing the first pair of permits.
Reuters reported that the beneficiary firms are telecom giants Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo. Vodafone’s iPay and Ooredoo’s Ooredoo Money can now support digital payments under the Qatar Central Bank’s (QCB) supervision.
In a tweet, the QCB said the move aims to contribute to the growth of the financial technology sector and enhance financial inclusion. It added that approval for other digital payment service providers would soon follow.
The approval is part of the country’s preparation to host one of the biggest sporting events, the FIFA World Cup, later this year. Qatar has been onboarding more payment solutions for the host of tourists it intends to accommodate.
Last week, QCB announced that it had approved several commercial banks to support Google Wallet, allowing their clients to make mobile payments with Google Pay. The banks include Dukhan Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, Qatar International Islamic Bank, and Qatar National Bank.
Similarly, QCB also now accepts all digital wallet solutions for cards, such as Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.