Qatar National Bank, the country's largest bank, has started using an upgraded version of Total System Services Inc.'s card-processing system, and another bank there has started issuing smart cards with technology from the Columbus, Ga., processor.

TSYS, which is majority-owned by Synovus Financial Corp., said Tuesday that Qatar National had completed the migration of its card portfolio to TSYS Card Tech's Prime 3 system. The upgrade, from the Prime 1 system, involved 81,000 accounts for 32,000 customers and 2,300 merchants, TSYS said.

Also Tuesday, TSYS said that Commercial Bank of Qatar had issued its first cards with computer chips that support the Europay, MasterCard, Visa smart card security standard, using a platform from TSYS Card Tech.

The CBQ MasterCard Payroll chip card is the first of a series of Visa and MasterCard EMV cards Commercial Bank plans to issue. It will introduce others — including credit, debit, charge, and prepaid cards — in a phased rollout this year, TSYS said.

Card Tech Ltd., a British payments technology vendor that TSYS bought in July 2006 and renamed TSYS Card Tech, has served Commercial Bank since 1992.

TSYS, which made the announcements in conjunction with the Cards Middle East conference this week in Dubai, said that TSYS Card Tech clients include Qatar's top four banks, which have a combined deposit share of 85%.

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