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QR code-based payment initiative rolls out in India

20 February 2017  |  9739 views  |  5 India

A government sponsored quick response(QR)code-based payment service, IndiaQR, has launched today in India, heralding the next major step in its ambition to be a cashless society.

The move to a world of digital payments was signalled by prime minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation policy, announced in November, triggering a wave of investment in developing new payment services such as digital wallets as well as QR code-based services.

The QR codes can be used to store data such as weblinks and bank account details and can be read by smartphone cameras. They also enable merchants without a terminal or POS machine to accept card payments by scanning the QR code.

IndiaQR is a government-mandated initiative which has been developed by MasterCard, Visa and RuPay and launched in Mumbai and is designed to make the codes present in as many merchants as possible. Consequently, the initiative has led various payment providers to invest heavily in developing related services.

Paytm, an ecommerce firm backed by Alibaba, has lined up a $900 million (6 billion rupees) investment in the development of a new QR-based payments service. The company also plans to train 10 million merchants to accept digital payments across 650 districts before the year-end.

Meanwhile, India's largest bank HDFC has appointed payment tech company In-Solutions Global to develop an end-end merchant acquiring platform and a series of apps to help with the migration to digital payments.

Comments: (5)

Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India | 20 February, 2017, 17:10

IndiaQR is joint effort of NPCI,MC,VISA indicates to support open loop payments using wallets.

Is it going to create interoperatablility of wallets ( PayTM  Wallet reading IndiaQR :))

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 21 February, 2017, 14:51

Any idea if merchants need a hard-to-get Merchant Account to accept card payments via QR code? 

A few corrections: (1) As advertised in today's newspapers, it's called BharatQR, not IndiaQR (2) PayTM already has a QR code based payment service for instore payments (so does Visa viz. mVisa). It's already quite ubiquituous - I keep joking that someone should introduce a new "Graphic of the Year" award and name PayTM's QRC as the first winner of this award! The said investment announced yesterday is to expand the acceptance network of PayTM's existing QR service from the present figure of 5M merchants to 10M merchants.

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Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India | 21 February, 2017, 15:29

I have also lost track after Dec 2016 ( BHIM app and QR code was to be launch together but some how missed it from tracking it).

I believe intially it was marked as IndiaQR but rechristened as BhartQR (it goes with BHIM App). ( Link as of yesterday  - http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/bharat-qr-code-launched-to-push-less-cash-economy/articleshow/57256004.cms)

Merchant sign up still needed ( http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/common-qr-code-for-payments-soon/articleshow/55798001.cms)

As expected, banks seems to be gearing up with this new development to ensure grab the churns to PayTM and other players.

It will benefit in Aadhar enabled payments using QR code and BHIM App.

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 21 February, 2017, 16:10

@HiteshThakkar:

TY but I couldn't find any reference to the need or otherwise of Merchant Account in the TOI article linked in your comment. Merchant sign up is obviously required for BharatQR but that's not quite the same as Merchant Account. I know merchants who applied for "POS" on circa 10 Nov 2016 but still can't accept card payments because Acquirer Banks haven't issued Merchant Accounts to them. Apparently most micromerchants - PayTM's primary Target Group - don't meet banks' stringent risk management norms for issuance of Merchant Account.

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Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India | 21 February, 2017, 19:12

Yes you are right in recent press release it's not clear but Dec 2016 gives impression that, merchant onboarding will be needed.

In last few months, I had serveral interactions with small retailers through some of POS/mPOS based service providers.

These merchants have expressed several services including willingness to engage with multiple companies e.g. Merchant has sign up with Suvidha which is offering mPOS also at the same time he also becomes Airtel Payments bank outlet as well as offered by IDFC bank to put up mini branch. Atleast demand side, flexibility can be expected so left to banks and service providers to give good proposition ( I also read about RBI reducing MDR so sure something need to be done differently to monitise the merchant services).

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