No longer is Apple Pay just available only in UAE (since October 2017) and Saudi Arabia (since February 2019). QNB has officially announced that Apple Pay is now available in Qatar. This makes it the third country in the Middle East and North Africa region to see availability of Apple’s contactless payment system.
A quick look at the Apple Support page listing all countries and the banks supporting Apple Pay doesn’t yet show Qatar on it, but that should change soon.
Merchants across the country can now accept payments done via customer’s Apple devices. Your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch can be used to pay for your purchases. This doesn’t stop there, as it will also work with online shopping services that support it. Make sure to keep an eye out for the logo (similar to the ones you’ve see for credit cards), which lets you know that Apple Pay is an accepted payment method.
The writing on the wall for the Middle East with regards to eCommerce has shown untapped potential. However, the cultural hesitation of embracing of using credit cards and digital payments has put cash as king of transactions.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed all of that. Many who never embarked on digital transformation for eCommerce were now playing catchup. It’s great to see that a major bank in Qatar has finally chosen to bring this to the country, especially when Apple devices are quite popular in the market.
While the feature was launched in 2014, it’s been expanding to more countries as discussions happen with the respective banks. Maybe even more banks in Qatar will embrace it. Mowasalat (Karwa) has already moved fast to embrace mobile contactless payment already, becoming the first business in Qatar to integrate it into their taxi-hailing app.
Will this mean that those with Apple Pay may soon see Apple Card on the horizon? Time will tell. If you’re looking to incorporate it into your website, Apple’s Developer site can guide you on the implementation.
Update (21 December 2020): Seems that this has only been rolled out for merchants for now. Users can’t add their card to Apple Pay to it (tried it and didn’t work), as it looks like this is meant for merchants to start accepting it.
Update (17 August 2021): Looks like QNB has sent out SMSs to their account holders, informing them that they can now setup and link their bank cards.
If you are already an QNB account holder, follow the steps at this link to start using it. Make sure to have the QNB app installed on your iPhone.