The BharatQR code

The recently launched BharatQR code, through its standardized quick response will make payments interoperable


Hemant Mishra/Mint
Hemant Mishra/Mint

The Reserve Bank of India deputy governor R. Gandhi on Monday launched BharatQR, a standardized quick response (QR) code, developed by MasterCard, National Payments Corp. of India and Visa. Here is what you should know:

What is it?

QR code is a machine-readable matrix that can be scanned with a smartphone to make payments. BharatQR code is interoperable. To make it interoperable, payment network companies Visa, MasterCard, RuPay and American Express have come together. Currently, American Express is in the final stage of integration and not yet live. BharatQR code works on Android and iOS platforms, though not on Windows. However, a deployment option via USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) is being worked out to support non-smartphone users.

Who can use it?

At present, only 15 banks have come on board and are in the process of deploying BharatQR code. The 15 banks include Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, City Union Bank, DCB Bank Ltd, Karur Vysya Bank, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank Ltd, Punjab National Bank, RBL Bank Ltd, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Vijaya Bank and Yes Bank Ltd. 

As a customer, to use BharatQR code you need to have a smartphone and must download the bank app that is compatible with the code. Since most of the banks have multiple apps, BharatQR code has been implemented only on select apps. Hence, not all apps have BharatQR active. For instance, ICICI Bank has chosen Pockets and ICICI Mobile Banking app. HDFC Bank has launched it with PayZapp. 

At present, only credit, debit and prepaid card holders with the member banks can use this service. Currently, it is not available on unified payment interface (UPI).

How does it work?

BharatQR code is of two types—static and dynamic. Static QR code requires you to first scan the code and enter the amount and authorize with a PIN, after which the money will get debited. Say, you buy vegetables worth Rs500 from a vegetable vendor. To make a payment using BharatQR, you will have to scan the QR at her shop or stall. Once you scan, you have to enter the amount in your smartphone (in this case Rs500) and your PIN. The money will get debited from your account and credited into the vendor's bank account. In case of dynamic QR code, every time the merchant will generate a new QR code. Say, you are at a restaurant and your bill is Rs1,000. The merchant will give you the bill with a QR code. Once you scan the code, you just need to enter your PIN and the payment will go through. You don’t need to enter the amount. 

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