BharatQR: One step closer to e-payments

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India has reached a new milestone in cashless transaction by launching BharatQR, the world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution. This is the second big ticket initiative from the Centre, after BHIM, towards pushing digital transactions.

What is QR code? 

Quick Response Code (QRCode) is a two-dimensional machine-readable unique pattern that contains information on a specific task. A common example is QR codes in newspaper advertisements or billboards. When scanned using a Smartphone, it will direct you to the advertiser’s website.

How does QR codes work for online payments?

In case of retail payments, QR code eliminates the need of a Point of Sale (PoS, or card swipe) machine for carrying out electronic transaction. If the merchant and the customer are using the same payment application, such as PayTM or a bank’s app, then the customer can scan the merchant’s QR code to make the payment.

What is BharatQR code? 

BharatQR code is an interoperable payment acceptance solution. Even if the merchant and customer are on different payment platforms, BharatQR will enable payment from one to the other. This means that merchants need to display only one QR code instead of multiple ones  for different payment platforms. It has been jointly developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Mastercard, and Visa, BharatQR code would require.

How is it different from Bhim app? Which banks are using BharatQR code?

All banks associated with the NPCI are already operationally ready to deploy BharatQR. This includes SBI, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Citi Union Bank, Development Credit Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI, IDBI, RBL Bank, Union Bank of India, Vijaya Bank and Yes Bank. Persons using MasterCard, Visa, AmericanExpress or Rupay can also transact using BharatQR.

What about mobile wallets?

Currently, only HDFC Bank’s Payzapp and ICICI’s Pockets app have been integrated with BharatQR code. So the code won’t work with other mobile wallets. But talks are on with other banks and payment services and more companies are likely to deploy BharatQR.

How safe is transaction? 

There a two ways BharatQR can work.

Option 1: A merchant generates a single QR code for the outlet. The customer makes payment by scanning the code and using his/her PIN.

Option 2: The merchant can create a unique code for every transaction. In such a case, the PIN won’t be prompted.  In both scenarios, the transactions are secure as sensitive data such as bank account details and PIN are never stored.

Can it be used without Smartphone?

The BharatQR is currently rolled out only for Smartphone users. But the NCPI is working on Aadhaar-based and UPI address-based payment services. It will be available soon.