The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has announced the issuance and implementation of the Kenya Quick Response Code Standard 2023 (KE-QR Code Standard 2023), a new guideline for Payment Service Providers and banks to issue QR Codes to consumers and businesses that accept digital payments.
QR Codes are machine-readable codes consisting of black and white squares that contain information for initiating and accepting digital payments at various points of sale, such as supermarkets, shops, and other outlets. According to CBK, the use of standardised QR Code-enabled payments will bring practical benefits to businesses and customers, such as ease, speed, convenience, and security.
“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,” CBK said in a press release.
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, CBK expects that the use of standardised QR Codes will facilitate the 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, a global standard for QR Codes developed by EMVCo, an organisation that facilitates worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions. The Standard has been developed through collaboration between CBK, Payment Service Providers, banks, card schemes, among others.
The Standard will be rolled out in a phased approach as these players align their operations to the requirements set out in the Standard and increase customer awareness. CBK said that the issuance of the Standard marks an important step in the implementation of the National Payments System Vision and Strategy 2021-2025.
The Strategy was launched in February 2022 to, among other things, support the adoption of key standards and align Kenya’s National Payment System to global best practice.
With the launch of the QR Standard, Kenya is joining other leading markets that have implemented the standardized approach to issuing QR codes for facilitating payments. These countries include, Philippines, Jordan, South Africa, Singapore, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, India, and China.