The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 constitutes a great opportunity for promoting further the digital transformation of the state's banking system, and building on the achievements made during the Covid-19 pandemic period, which marked a major shift in the field of digital banking services, benefiting from the adequate infrastructure available for the banks amid rapid digitalisation of 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 was the QCB issuing the first licence 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 the 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, the QCB issued the first licence in the country for digital payment services to Ooredoo Money and iPay by Vodafone Qatar.
QNB Group CEO Abdullah al-Khalifa said: "The Group has laid out and dedicated a full plan over the years aimed to develop its technological services 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 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, QIIB CEO Dr Abdulbasit al-Shaibi noted in previous statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA) 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 its 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 in 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.
Al-Shaibi underlined that QIIB has been investing intensively in banking technology for a long time as digital transformation is an urgent necessity to improve the operational environment.
He reiterated that 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 positive market factors, following strict criteria in the field of risk assessment, and encouraging leading initiatives in the field of innovation.
Commercial Bank has also launched a premium range of special-issue credit cards for the World Cup with discounts and special promotions at various participating hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, 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.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is seen to constitute a great opportunity for promoting further the digital transformation of the State's banking system, building on the achievements made during the Covid-19 pandemic, which marked a major shift in the field of digital banking services.