India aims to reduce reliance on cash with interoperable Bharat QR code

Adrian M. Reodique

QR code
Credit: GraphicStock

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the Indian Banks Association yesterday (21 February 2017) launched an interoperable Quick Response (QR) code acceptance solution.

The solution, called Bharat QR, was developed by Mastercard in collaboration with the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI), and Visa.

It is in line with the direction set by RBI in September 2016 and the Payments Vision 2018 of India, which outlines innovation, interoperability, and security as three key pillars to facilitate the shift toward a less cash-dependent society.

According to Mastercard, Bharat QR enables a seamless transaction between merchants and consumers. Merchants will only need to display a single QR code at the store or through their respective acquiring bank's mobile application. This saves consumers the hassle of using multiple QR codes from different payment networks when transacting with any merchant.

The Bharat QR solution will be deployed across India in phases by banks. Several banks that are ready to roll out the solution include: American Express, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Citi Union Bank, Development Credit Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, RBL Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Vijaya Bank and Yes Bank.

Mastercard is confident that Bharat QR will gain traction with merchants and consumers in India given its ease of use and low cost of deployment.

"With the objective of providing a fast, convenient and secure payment solution for consumers and a reliable and instant acceptance offering for merchants, Mastercard developed the 'Made in India' global interoperable payment solution at its technology centre in Vadodara," said Porush Singh, Country Corporate Officer, India and Division President in South Asia at Mastercard.  "We are looking forward to leveraging our technology backbone and partnering with the government and the industry to create a robust, safe and secure digital payments ecosystem."