Tanzania gets mobile NFC

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Tanzanian telco Zantel is launching what it claims is Africa’s first commercial near-field communications (NFC) payments service.

Zantel, a unit of UAE-based Etisalat, says the ‘Touch and Pay’ service will enable customers to make payments at merchants by tapping handsets containing NFC SIMs from Oberthur at MasterCard PayPass-equipped terminals.

Zantel argues that the simplicity of NFC payments means it is an ideal tool for bringing financial services to illiterate and uneducated people. In addition, the system is suitable for the country’s street merchants because of the speed of transactions and affordability of POS devices.

The NFC plan builds on Zantel’s successful zPesa mobile money system, used by Tanzanians for person-t?-person cash transfers, bill payments and banking services.

Essa Al Haddad, chief marketing officer, Etisalat, says: “The secret f?r th? success ?f th?? service ?? th? simplicity ?f th? process. A consumer ??n ??? “Touch ?n? G?” w?th merchants t? b?? goods, services, tickets ?r even mobile confidence top-ups without needing t? type ?n? numbers ?r intricate commands. Th? consumer ???t needs t? bring device close t? th? commercial’s point ?f sale terminal ?n? validate th? transaction w?th a password.”

The Tanzania roll-out is just the first of 18 Etisalat says it plans in countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.