The idea is that while paying at retail stores, customers should be able to use any QR cod to make payments irrespective of who it is issued by.

Paytm QR code scanner at a vegetable store in Hyderabad
Money Payments Friday, October 23, 2020 - 19:09

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on Thursday, barred payment companies from launching their own proprietary QR codes for any payment transactions. This came as the central bank released guidelines to make QR codes interoperable in India. RBI said that payment operations that currently use proprietary QR codes shall shift to one or more interoperable QR codes by March 31, 2022.

The two interoperable QR codes in existence – UPI QR and Bharat QR – shall continue as at present.

β€œThe above measures are expected to reinforce the acceptance infrastructure, provide better user convenience due to interoperability and enhance system efficiency,” RBI said in a statement.

The idea is that while paying at retail stores, customers should be able to use any QR code to make UPI and other payments irrespective of who the QR code is issued by. Meaning, a Google Pay user should be able to pay using a QR code that Paytm may have installed at a store. Having a unique QR code is likely to force customers to download multiple payment apps, causing them further inconvenience.

As per reports, these new guidelines are likely not to impact companies such as Paytm, GooglePay and PhonePe, who have launched interoperable QR codes over the past year. These companies reportedly stopped issuing proprietary QR codes.

RBI had constituted a Committee in December 2019 to review the current system of QR codes in India and suggest measures for moving towards interoperable QR Codes. The report of the Committee containing various recommendations was placed on the Reserve Bank website for public comments and feedback.

RBI said on Thursday that it will continue a consultative process to standardise and improve interoperable QR codes, to enable beneficial features identified by the committee. It also urged payment operators to take initiative to increase awareness about interoperable QR codes.