RBI says PSOs required to shift to Interoperable QR Codes by March 2022

The Reserve Bank of India has said that Payment System Operators (PSOs) that use proprietary Quick Response (QR) codes have to shift to one or more interoperable QR codes by 31 March 2022. The RBI in its letter to payment system operators, including banks and non-banks, on Streamlining QR Code infrastructure for Digital Payment Transactions said that a constituted committee, headed by Prof Deepak Phatak, has suggested steps towards interoperable QR Codes after review of the current system. The Payment system operators include Cards Payment Networks, ATM Networks, entities issuing pre-paid payment instruments, White Label ATM Operators, etc.

The two interoperable QR codes in existence namely UPI QR and Bharat QR - shall continue as at present. No new proprietary QR codes shall hereafter be launched by any payment system operators for any payment transaction. The Central Bank shall continue a consultative process to standardize and improve interoperable QR codes so as to enable beneficial features identified by the Phatak Committee.

Payment System Operators may take initiative to increase awareness about interoperable QR codes. These measures are expected to reinforce the acceptance infrastructure, provide better user ease due to interoperability, and enhance system effectiveness.

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