Qatar high-tech banking system capable of absorbing pressure during World Cup

November 14, 2022

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 constitutes a great opportunity to promote the digital transformation of the country’s banking system, and build on the achievements made during the COVID-19 period, which marked a major shift in digital banking services.

In this context, the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) unveiled in the past few months a range of initiatives to enable secure, fast, and affordable digital payments lined up for the World Cup.

Among the most prominent initiatives is QCB issuing the first license in the country to provide digital payment services via Google Play, along with many guidelines that regulate and license various payment activities in the country.

According to QCB, the new services include the issuance of e-wallets through Qatar Mobile Payment system and its uses (merchants services and local money transfer), in addition to offering international money transfers through the e-wallet, via a bank or an exchange shop licensed in Qatar.

In late August, QCB issued the first license in the country for digital payment services to Ooredoo Money and iPay by Vodafone Qatar.

In statements, CEO of QNB Group Abdullah Al Khalifa said, “The Group has laid out and dedicated a full plan over the years aimed to develop its technological services in to better serve the mass of visitors in a distinctive and seamless way during this tournament. We strive to achieve a successful edition of the FIFA World Cup, which is why we have dedicated all our services, digital products and our workforce to ensure that we mark our presence with excellence throughout the tournament. This includes dedicating our ATMs as the sole provider of ATM machines in and around all eight stadiums along many other key locations that is expected to host a large number of fans and spectators.”

Al Khalifa also highlighted the launch of the special FIFA designed credit cards for all of its customer segments, where it was the first bank to launch special FIFA branded cards aiming at sharing the fun of the biggest most-prestigious football event with its customers.

QNB was also the first to launch a special prepaid card design that included Laeeb, the official mascot for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, where all digital prepaid cards were updated on the iPhone Wallet application, which saves all customer cards on the iPhone. This provides customers with a sense of exclusivity and uniqueness while sharing the football thrill.

For his part, CEO of Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB), Dr. Abdulbasit Al Shaibi, noted that the QIIB has carried out a number of events and contributions in conjunction with the tournament, including special issue of credit and debit cards, and a number of promotional offers; noting that QIIB is training a staff to deal with visitors during the tournament in a way that reflects the true image of Doha as a forum of civilized interaction between peoples and nations and one of the prominent capitals of global sports.

He added that QIIB has also trained a team to provide internal support during the World Cup and beyond, in case of any emergency.

Dr. Al Shaibi underlined that QIIB has been investing intensively in banking technology for a long time, in belief that digital transformation is an urgent necessity, to improve the operational environment.

He reiterated that the QIIB worked to enhance the digital transformation process, confirming that the bank is opening a completely unique digital branch with a modern design in Msheireb Downtown Doha.

The QIIB CEO added that the bank enhanced the role of technology and relied on digital services as part of a comprehensive transformation, in accordance with the best international standards adopted in the banking sector, expressing his confidence that the bank will continue its upward march in relation to various indicators, taking advantage of all the market positive factors, following strict criteria in the field of market risk assessment, and encouraging leading initiatives in the field of innovation.

The Commercial Bank (CBQ) has also launched a premium range of special-issue credit cards for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with discounts and special promotions at various participating hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, cafes and sports equipment stores.

In a related context, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) launched a special edition of the “Visa Signature” credit card, visa debit card, and visa prepaid card, in celebration of the historic event.

QIB has partnered with Visa as part of its preparations for the event, and to strengthen its commitment to the local community, by providing its customers with exclusive cards offering special bonuses and promotions, for a smooth and rewarding banking experience, enhancing the customer experience as one of the largest banks in Qatar by offering exclusive benefits to Visa cardholders.

Visa Signature provides unlimited free access to more than 1000 airport lounges worldwide, discounts at luxury hotels and restaurants, earning “Absher” points on each use while customers have the option of paying a minimum of 5% per month on purchases and cash withdrawals. Moreover, Visa Signature credit card holders can benefit from free travel insurance coverage, purchase protection and extended warranty.

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