Central Bank of Kenya launches national QR payments standard

CONTACTLESS: The QR standard aims to ensure interoperability across mobile payments services

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has launched a standard for the generation of QR codes in the country’s retail payments sector as the first phase of a nationwide rollout of a universal QR code payments system.

The Kenya Quick Response Code Standard 2023 lays out technical specifications and requirements for CBK-regulated banks and payment service providers issuing QR codes to merchants in order to ensure interoperability across mobile payments services.

At launch, KCB Group, Equity Bank Kenya, the Co-operative Bank of Kenya and Safaricom are among the providers supporting and implementing the standard.

“The implementation of the standard, and use of standardised QR Code-enabled payments, will bring practical benefits to businesses and customers,” CBK says.

“Customers will now be able to make digital payments in an easy, fast, convenient, and secure manner using QR.

“Previously, customers had to manually input different payment codes and numbers, hence creating friction and cumbersome payment processes that are prone to errors.

“The standard will also promote inclusion by enabling institutions of various sizes and customer focus to increase adoption of digital payments.

“In the long-term, use of standardised QR Codes will facilitate launch of innovative products and deepen the benefits already enjoyed by customers making payments across various institutions and mobile money networks (interoperability).”

The standard is based on the EMVCo QR Code Specification and “will be rolled out in a phased approach as […] players align their operations to requirements set out in the standard and increase customer awareness,” CBK adds.

Central Bank of Kenya launches national QR payments standard was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.