SBP Sets New Regulations For QR Payment Standards

State Bank of Pakistan have announced a unification of QR Payment standards across Pakistan with new regulations set to ensure a seamless transition

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have consistently been looking for ways to expand their current infrastructure and adopting new ways that more so align with international standards. According to their newest set of regulations, SBP have unified QR Payment Standards across Pakistan.

SPB has issued standards for commercial banks offering QR payment service. This is done to promote a unified system throughout the country and by adding more preemptive measures to the security of these payment methods. The State Bank has assured maximum facilitation of customers alongside an added assurance of security to the back-end system. The main benefit of Quick Response (QR) Codes is due to its low-cost payment acceptance in comparison to the primitive Point of Sale (POS) terminals currently used in Pakistan, which have become exceedingly problematic for small merchants.

Banks have also favored this transition by providing incentives to users for using this platform and the support will only increase. However, the sheer number of transactions through QR codes have not reached expected targets mainly due to a lack of interoperability. Hence, this initiative aims to resolve this as SBP have decided that all institutions issuing or acquiring QR codes for payments in Pakistan need to adopt EMVCo’s EMV QR Code Specifications for Payment Systems (QRCPS).

Moreover, non-EMV QR Codes that have already been deployed in Pakistan need to comply with this standard by 31st March, 2020. These banks also need to submit the data related to issuance and usage of QR codes on a quarterly basis to Payment Systems Department (PSD) within 2 weeks of the end of a quarter. Finally, institutions using QR Codes are told to promote the uses of QR codes through new platforms such as invoice/challan based payments, branch-based Inter-bank Fund Transfers (IBFT), etc.

According to SBP, the Guidelines for Banks Merchant is given as follows:

  • The QR code should be clearly visible and readable to the customers.
  • The acquirer shall clearly display the following information at QR code acceptance locations:
    1. Procedure for customers to make payments by using QR code.

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