In a first for the MENA region, Qatar National Bank (QNB) has tied up with PayPal to allow customers to link their Qatar accounts to the popular payment service.

The partnership, which is PayPal’s first agreement with an Arab bank, will make it easier to purchase things online in Qatar, a practice that is not very popular.

Currently, only a little more than a third of residents use the internet to shop, according to a recently released Northwestern University in Qatar survey on online habits.

Online shopping

That may be in part because while most local credit cards function well for online purchases, certain sites appear to be blocked by banks. Additionally, debit cards are typically not accepted.

In a statement, Elias Ghanem, managing director for PayPal Middle East and North Africa, said:

“With 66 percent of consumers in MENA region using the internet to search for products and services and only one third of them making online purchases, the offline to online opportunity is significant.”

Through PayPal, QNB customers will be able to make online purchases using credit or debit cards, or have funds directly withdrawn from their bank account without a fee. They would also be able to send money to any other PayPal account holder via email.

PayPal services are now only available through QNB, but the tie-up could pave the way for future bank partnerships in Qatar. PayPal formally launched its Middle East services earlier this year and said it intends to double its reach in the coming years.

source: dohanews