The contactless environment has given a push to QR Codes, a payment technology with growing popularity thanks to its simplicity, speed and security

QR codes are becoming more and more popular at the checkout line of any kind of store almost anywhere in the world. Driven even more by the pandemic, the QR payment trend has grown rapidly this year and experts say that, because of its simplicity, it’s here to stay.

For the financial sector, the growth of this form of collection offers an opportunity to digitize more SMBs, but it also requires being at the forefront of the trend.

A QR payment is a form of contactless transaction, often associated with a mobile wallet, that is activated by scanning a code with your cell phone. Its simplicity is one of its main advantages.

During pandemic lockdowns, and times of social distancing, both QR-initiated payments and the deployment of codes by merchants have increased.

According to a study done by Mastercard in April, 80% of consumers worldwide use contactless payments. In Mexico, more than 6 million people use apps featuring this payment method through a national system called CoDi. In Brazil, financial institutions are preparing for the imminent launch of PIX, an instant payment platform that has QR payments among its main features.

QR payment opportunities for banking

At the financial institution level, QR payments offer an important opportunity to get closer to businesses big or small.

This is because the QR system eliminates the need for special equipment, such as point-of-sale (POS) terminals, instead using a printed QR code (static QR) or an app that generates a dynamic QR.

The commercial and competitive advantage is huge. Small businesses can enter the digital payment ecosystem, with processing fees on transactions, but with significant savings in terms of purchasing or leasing a POS terminal.

There is also another significant advantage: it is a much easier way for consumers to use a digital payment system. It meets the requirements of speed and simplicity by operating directly with the camera of a mobile device, and is an application that can scan, store and share codes.

With the opportunities for both SMBs and consumers, financial institutions must manage a QR strategy for both groups. For business clients, the bank should offer a service to help them charge clients through this system, either with an app or through a printed code. And for retail customers, it is essential to include the feature to pay with this code in the app or mobile wallet.

QR payment security

For the bank’s retail customers, using QR codes requires the same caution to avoid fraud as with other methods of payment.

Above all, it is important to raise awareness among the users, both merchants and consumers, to understand the potential of QR payments and to protect their own data as they would with any other financial transaction.

From there, the bank’s mobile wallet must have the fundamental security tools, to ensure that whoever initiates the transaction is really the authorized person. Among these tools, biometrics are recommended for their combination of security and great UX.

The result is that the use of QR codes for payments offers additional value over other formats, providing a secure payment system as well as a simple, contactless verification method, without authentication issues that complicate the transactions. These codes are the easiest way to scale in the payment ecosystem.

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