Though the regulators are far behind, Payment Service Providers (PSP) are testing and implementing NFC payments nationwide.
Iran’s payment landscape is entering a new era of mobile payment development. With new regulations in place that allows PSPs to provide mobile payment solutions to Iranian customers, an influx in providing simplified mobile payment solutions can be seen. Over $20 billion has been transacted through debit cards in the hands in the past year. 97% of these transactions have gone through POS terminals, which makes a mobile payment a reasonable solution. Tech literacy level and financial savviness of Iranian users are the two motives for PSPs to move in this field. Currently PSPs have developed and tested QR based mobile payment solutions in a market with fierce competition.
According to Tasnim news, The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is now allowing PSPs to use NFC technology as a payment method. PSPs have already gone through marketing stages in promoting NFC payment, and implementation on POS terminals. PSPs have quickly developed this technology which caused some concerns from the regulators and the CBI. Shaparak, the online payment regulator and supervisor in Iran, has announced multiple concerns regarding obtaining the necessary license and permits from the PSPs to execute and provide this technology. As the Ministry of Communications and Technology puts it “Due to some precautions from Iran’s banking system, implementation of this technology had been delayed for 2-3 years,” said Mahmoud Vaezi on NFC and NFC-enabled sim card payments. The long regulation and legal process of obtaining the necessary permits from Shaparak has caused some of these PSPs to already market and advertise their payment solution product in the meantime, although Shaparak has warned PSPs to obtain the license first. The reason behind these strict laws is to fully secure the safety of transactions, and to gain trust from the user’s side.
Though almost none of these payment methods have been officially launched, we anticipate to see a very rough competition in Iran’s mobile payment market in early 2017.