Wednesday 31 July 2019

QR Codes Help Payments Firms Up Offline Play

QR Codes Help Payments Firms Up Offline PlayPratik.Bhakta 

Bengaluru: Digital payments companies are increasingly looking at offline payments and trying to capture a larger share of this market by means of QR (Quick Response) codes. 

While Paytm, PhonePe and Google Pay offer QR codes and acquire their own merchants as well, entities like BharatPe act as aggregators, onboarding merchants for all forms of Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based payments.

Out of the transactions seen on the BharatPe platform, PhonePe had over 54% share in UPI transactions, while Google Pay had 30% and Paytm 12% in June.

On QR codes deployed by BharatPe, the share of PhonePe has increased steadily from 44% in January, a jump of 10 percentage points. Paytm may have a smaller share, but the company dominates the overall QR code-based transactions, since it has a chunk of offline payments through a proprietary QR code base of its own. Paytm recorded around 250 million transactions on Paytm QR through 12 million merchants, it said. Paytm QR accepts UPI payments made from any bank account through the Paytm app.

"We launched our innovative Paytm QR in 2015 and millions of people adopted it across the country, from the local kirana stores, autorickshaws and fast-food joints to top-end hotels and restaurants," said Deepak Abbot, senior vice president at Paytm. "We have witnessed three times growth in the last one year, including both online and offline payments."

PhonePe, on the other hand, did not comment on the exact number of transactions taking place through its QR codes, but said, it has 5.5 million offline merchants overall who exclusively accept UPI payments through PhonePe.

There is increased adoption of UPI payments through BharatPe, with 10 million transactions reported in June compared to 6 million in April, said Ashneer Grover, chief executive officer at BharatPe. "We are seeing average transaction value on our platform hovering around Rs 250, which I believe is a healthy sign," he said.

The National Payments Corporation of India does not share details of transactions happening on BharatQR, the bank-led QR code programme that has all the payment railroads such as Visa, Mastercard, RuPay and American Express. NPCI has onboarded 28 banks to acquire merchants for such transactions.

Offline payments have emerged as a major area of debate as the government has proposed zero charges on all forms of digital payments to encourage adoption.

While a section of payment companies have raised concerns, most smartphone-based payment players have supported it. "Removal of MDR is a welcome step, no more tolling in the name of payments, everyone has to play a simple credit game now," said Grover.

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