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.