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NPP QR code standard enables real time data rich payments

NPP QR code standard enables real time data rich payments

(4 June 2019 - Australia) NPP Australia has released a standardised QR code specification for the New Payments Platform (NPP), in line with its ambition to enable more innovators to use the NPP’s real-time data-rich capabilities.

The NPP QR Code Standard gives payments providers and facilitators the technical specifications required to support real-time payments via a QR code in scenarios such as online, bill and point-of-sale payments. "The days of fumbling for loose change at the school fete or footy match sausage sizzle could soon be numbered, after the NPP revealed it’s working with banks and merchant payment services providers to hook-up scan-to-pay QR codes to its real time network" quoted Julian Bajkowski of ITNews.

NPP Australia CEO Adrian Lovney states that the standard supports a consistent experience for both consumers and merchants, which is crucial for the growing development of the NPP. “We want the NPP to support ground-breaking payments experiences that deliver the benefits of real-time payments to both consumers and businesses, and we want these experiences to be enabled by a broad spectrum of innovators such as fintechs, retailers, small and big businesses, as well as banks, building societies and credit unions. “The NPP QR Code Standard provides a single common code for payment solutions across multiple payment service operators, as well as the ability to facilitate payments among different payment schemes, e-wallets and financial institutions."

"We’ve seen similar implementations of QR codes in an interoperable way in real-time payment systems overseas such as Singapore’s FAST, and that’s something we want to emulate here in Australia” Mr Lovney said. The real-time payments infrastructure provider revealed a fresh push to hook into the increasingly popular scan-to-pay standard that has proved highly successful across Asia as a replacement for cash payments for small ticket transactions that bypass conventional cards. The scannable 3D bar codes are extremely popular in Asia and many non-Western economies because they surpass traditional mag-stripe, NFC and EMV chip cards by facilitating real time digital transactions outside MasterCard, Visa and American Express networks while enabling new services like Ali Pay.

Launched in February 2018, there are now 80 financial institutions offering real-time payments via the NPP to more than 55 million Australian accounts. More than 130 million payments have moved across the Platform totalling more than A$105 billion. The Platform supports payments between BSB and account numbers as well as PayIDs, and there are now more than three million PayIDs registered.

“We’re seeing great examples of how the NPP’s speed and data capability can really improve payments experiences for various types of users. The Department of Human Services have been able to provide instant welfare and emergency payments to people in need, and organisations such as Assembly Payments, Up Banking, Block8, BTC Markets, Carsales, and Earnd use the NPP’s capabilities to launch their own differentiated service offerings,” Adrian said. Last year the NPP developed an API framework to enable the utility of the Platform’s ISO20022 messages to be extended more broadly, as well as a cloud-based sandbox to allow potential users of these APIs to experiment with them. A second version of the NPP API Framework was also recently released.

QR code technology is becoming more popular as a digital cash displacement option for small ticket retail sales, particularly food and mobile commerce, in areas like street markets and food stalls with high levels of cash receivables flows. The NPP’s push into QR standards through the release of its own standard means that merchants who might otherwise overlook a traditional EMV mobile payments terminal are now considerably more likely to enable cashless transactions because of the lower infrastructure overheads.

The development also infers that Australian merchants can link with their current acquirer for QR code functionality as opposed to an international acquirer for origination. One of the main issues facing the widespread adoption of QR codes in Australia has been the challenge of differing standards from providers from various acquirers. The entry of the NPP into the QR code payments space with a consistent standard linking both traditional institutions as well challenger banks and Fintechs will create a more consistent and level playing field. It will also give the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Treasury and banks far deeper insight into frequent sub A$100 transactions as Australia’s financial authorities try to manage the decline of cash and cheques.

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