What PayPal's new partnership with Qatar National Bank means for online shoppers

After opening in Egypt this March, PayPal is continuing its expansion throughout the Middle East, announcing a new partnership with Qatar National Bank.

The partnership, PayPal’s first with a bank in the region, will enable Qatar National Bank to offer its retail customers new services for secure online purchases, such as the ability to link their QNB credit or debit card to PayPal and begin shopping on e-commerce sites around the globe.

QNB retail customers will also be able to top up their PayPal accounts from their QNB bank account, and send money to any email address through the QNB website.

This last functionality, which is distinct from PayPal's money transfer services, is potentially exciting for those looking to send money abroad. QNB customers will be able to sign in to their online banking platform and send money directly from their bank account to any recipient with a PayPal account. 

Currently, consumers are able to use the QNB platform to shop online; while merchant accounts on PayPal are activated in Qatar, they are not linked to the QNB platform. When asked if this partnership marks a step towards enabling online merchants to withdraw revenues from their PayPal accounts directly to local credit cards or bank accounts in Qatar, Ghanem replied, “This is the first step in a longterm strategic partnership, and many other functionalities and new services will be enabled in the month to come.”

In the press release, both Ghanem and Ali Rashid Al Mohannadi, the Executive General Manager and Chief Operating Officer at QNB, stress the fact that the platform will allow the bank’s clients to shop using via mobile phone. With smartphone penetration reaching an estimated 75% as of early 2012, the market is ripe for an increase in mobile banking and e-commerce use, as consumers find trustworthy online platforms.

“PayPal is trusted throughout the world to enable millions of consumers to shop safely and conveniently online and through their mobile phone each day,” Mohannadi said in a statement. “This agreement allows our customers to enjoy greater flexibility and security when making online purchases with PayPal.”

“QNB is the leading bank in Qatar and we are truly excited by signing our first bank partnership in MENA with QNB,” Ghanem said in a statement. “This partnership is a major milestone on our exciting journey in the Middle East and North Africa, to enable global e-commerce across the region by offering consumers and merchants a safe and easy way to buy and sell online and through their smart phones.”

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