Monday, November 29th, 2021
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The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has asked, all institutions issuing and acquiring Quick Response (QR) codes for payments in Pakistan, for adoption of EMVCo's EMV QR Code Specifications for Payment Systems (QRCPS). Quick Response (QR) Codes have been emerging as low-cost payment acceptance alternative to Point of Sale (POS) terminals in Pakistan, especially for small merchants. Although QR codes have been deployed in substantial numbers, the volume of transactions has not achieved desired levels primarily due to their lack of interoperability.

Therefore, as a first step towards achieving interoperability of Payment QR Codes in Pakistan, the SBP after extensive stakeholder consultations has decided that henceforth all institutions issuing and/or acquiring QR codes for payments in Pakistan shall adopt EMVCo's EMV QR Code Specifications for Payment Systems (QRCPS).

According to a circular issued to all Banks, Microfinance Banks, Payment System Operators & Service Providers (PSOs & PSPs), Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), non-EMV QR Codes already deployed in Pakistan will also required to comply with this standard by 31st March, 2020.

The SBP has asked the institutions issuing/acquiring QR Codes to ensure that compliance with branding guidelines for QR Codes displayed at merchant locations. Data related to issuance and usage of QR codes should be submitted on quarterly basis to Payment Systems Department (PSD) within a fortnight of quarter end.

Institutions will be required compliance of SBP's instructions, guidelines, rules and regulations on Consumer Protection and Dispute Resolution issued and amended from time to time. Further, Institutions acquiring QR Codes are also encouraged to promote innovative uses of QR codes like invoice/challan based payments, branch based Inter-bank Fund Transfers (IBFT) etc. and plan for achieving inter scheme interoperability in due course of time. Payment QR codes printed and displayed at merchant locations should be clearly visible and readable to the customers and the acquirer shall clearly display the following information at QR code acceptance locations.

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