Evolution of QR codes
The evolution of QR Codes has been phenomenal in the Asian market, especially China. Since 2014, China has redefined the way cashless payments are made for day to day activities like your daily meals, groceries, rides, flight tickets and even monthly rents by scanning a QR code. Thanks new players like Alipay, WeChat and Tenpay who support QR; mainstream payments like MasterCard and Visa have been sidelined.
QR’s popularity has grown to such an extent that the use of ATM and the POS terminals have declined Y-O-Y. When compared to the traditional payment methods like POS, QR Code is an economical solution. Due to it being an economical solution compared to other payment methods, QR gained wide acceptance. Government’s policies and several local Internet companies launching new payment products had also given a push to its growth.
Digital Payment Lineup
The scenario in India is unfolding in a similar fashion. Bharat QR is now the front runner in the push from the government for cashless transactions. Apart from Bharat QR, govt. launched few other payment solutions. UPI was the first one (April 2016) but limited to only fund transfers. It requires to have a mobile number linked to your bank a/c and banking app that supports it. Later came Bharat QR (Sep 2016), which offers an easy and instant payment process between customers & merchants. BHIM which is intended to facilitate e-payments directly through banks was launched in December 2016. It allows users to send or receive money to or from UPI payment addresses, or to non-UPI based accounts.
Quick & Wide adoption of Bharat QR Code
Out of all the steps taken by the government, Bharat QR stands ahead & holds all the features to stay in the long run. As of now, 15 banks have adopted the Bharat QR platform & many other are expected to join the mega-forum. Various eWallet apps are also now allowing QR code acceptance solution, while the smartphone companies have launched phones with inbuilt QR code reader. For merchants & customers, QR codes have become the go-to payment solution for making & accepting hassle-free payments.
As per data of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, now around 7 lakh shops are implementing Bharat QR, and the target is to reach 1.5 million.
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has strictly instructed every UPI application to scan Bharat QR codes and follow the mandated guidelines else transactions might be declined for non-compliance. BHIM-UPI QR codes have been displayed at all the counters of government departments to accept payments.
What Makes Bharat QR Code Stand Out
1. Cost effective solution for Merchants: As compared to POS devices which come with a cost, Bharat QR doesn’t cost anything. There is no maintenance charge and other extra charges.
2. Simple & Easy to Use: Both for the customers & merchants for making payments. You only need a smartphone with QR scanning app or functionality to scan and pay.
3. Quick and Error Free: The payment process is much faster by skipping payee details, getting PIN no and OTP. Payment takes place instantly via IMPS.
4. Multiple Payment Options: Available on the mobile apps of 15 nationalized banks, private banks & linked to VISA, MasterCard, American Express, RuPay cards.
5. Secure Solution: No need to share any details like mobile number and card details with anyone, including the merchant. Bharat QR eliminates the risk of data loss.
The Shift Towards Bharat QR Payments
As per NPCI, all UPI apps must now support the scanning of Bharat QR and respond to merchant payment requests. Two major power distribution companies of Andhra Pradesh have also started accepting electricity bill via Bharat QR payments. Customers of Indian Post Payments Bank’s can now do offline transactions only through QR codes. Ajay Prakash Sawhney (Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & IT) has made mandatory for government utility bills to print a QR code on the bill or its envelope. Without even opening the envelope you can scan the code and pay instantly.
Bharat QR is one of the biggest achievements of the government as it pushes to make digital payments easier. The scope for Bharat QR is immense & with the awareness campaigns by the payment companies, its usage will only increase multi-fold.