The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has announced the issuance and implementation of a new standard, the Kenya Quick Response Code Standard 2023, to guide how Payment Service Providers and banks regulated by the CBK will issue Quick Response (QR) codes to businesses and consumers accepting digital payments.
Central Bank of Kenya 🇰🇪 launches the KE-QR Code Standard 2023
The KE-QR Code Standard provides guidance on how data should be presented by the merchant including what fields are mandatory/optional. Customer scanning apps must interpret the data according to this standard.
— BitKE (@BitcoinKE) May 5, 2023
QR codes are machine-readable codes containing information that provide an alternative way of initiating and accepting digital payments made by customers at various points of sale.
The new standard will ensure that QR codes issued by Payment Service Providers and banks conform to a uniform format and are interoperable with other institutions and mobile money networks.
The CBK also expects that a standardized QR Code system will promote competition and innovation among Payment Service Providers and banks leading to better services for customers.
According to CBK, the standard will also promote financial inclusion by facilitating the adoption of digital payments by institutions of various sizes and customer focus.
Governor @njorogep goes shopping! Watch as the Governor makes some purchases using the newly-launched QR Code Standard. pic.twitter.com/FqleJx6T1D
— Central Bank of Kenya (@CBKKenya) May 3, 2023
“The implementation of the Standard, and use of standardized QR Code-enabled payments, will bring practical benefits to businesses and customers. Customers will now be able to make digital payments in an easy, fast, convenient, and secure manner using QR,” said CBK Governor, John Njoroge.
“Previously, customers had to manually input different payment codes and numbers, hence creating friction and cumbersome payment processes that are prone to errors.”
CBK says the KE-QR Code Standard 2023 is based on the EMVCo QR Code Specification and has been developed through collaboration between CBK, Payment Service Providers, banks, card schemes, among others. Its implementation will be done in stages allowing financial institutions and other players to align their operations with the new requirements. This will also give them time to increase customer awareness of the new standard.
Kenya now joins several other countries in the world which have launched a QR code standard including:
- South Africa
- Saudi Arabia
The launch of the standard is seen by the bank as an important step in implementing its National Payments Strategy 2022 – 2025 which is meant to support the adoption of key standards and align Kenya’s National Payment System to global best practice.
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