Jawad Shaikh, executive vice-president for Digital Business at du says the digital wallet service is similar to Apple Pay as no information is stored on the phone. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Telecom operator du has formed a partnership with mobile payment solution Beam Wallet and Majid Al Futtaim Ventures to take smart retailing to the next level.

Around 5,000 retail outlets are likely to accept Beam Wallet service by the end of the year.

Beam Wallet is an app that allows consumers to conduct retail transactions using smartphones, dispensing with the need to carry wallets.

Majid Al Futtaim Ventures had already purchased a stake in Beam Wallet in December last year.

“There is no doubt that mobile commerce will play a significant part in the future of retail. We saw a need in the consumers and created an ecosystem of partners to bring that into reality in a larger case,” Jawad Shaikh, executive vice-president of digital business at du, told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

He said mobile technology is at the core of the consumer shopping experience as the UAE has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world.

“It is an OTT [over-the-top] service and we want all retailers to have it. We are in discussions with some petrol station chains and some other retailers also,” he said.

Beam Wallet is currently used by more than 100,000 users and available in 1,200 retail and dining outlets, like Costa Coffee, Tim Horton’s, Subway, VOX Cinemas, Carrefour, Cold Stone Creamery, Aldo, Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole — to name a few.

Shezan Amiji, co-founder of Beam Wallet, said that the deal will undoubtedly accelerate the growth of the digital wallet in the UAE.

Amiji said the partners are ready to work with anybody to boost mobile commerce in the UAE.

When asked about du’s role in the partnership, Shaikh said it is a commercial deal right now.

“We will be promoting the service by leveraging our channels and customer reach. It is going to have a huge impact in the market as retailers can track their customers’ behaviour and personalise the offers,” Shaikh said.

Telecom service providers are actively looking at various innovations and services to boost revenues.

Regarding security, Shaikh said the digital wallet service is similar to Apple Pay and “no information” is stored on the phone. Everything is encrypted and tokenised. Tokenisation makes it difficult for hackers to gain access to cardholder’s data.

Right now, “we are trying to change consumer behaviour in bid to start relying on the phone for payments. Eventually, when they [customers] are more [used] to it, we can definitely introduce more active channels, and near-field communication (NFC) services [are] in the pipeline,” he said.