Kenya Launches QR Code Standard: What You Need to Know

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Central Bank of Kenya Kenya Quick Response(QR) Code Standard 2023

The Central Bank of Kenya in partnership with multiple key players in the payments industry in the country have today launched the Kenya Quick Response(QR) Code Standard 2023.

The main purpose of the QR code is to increase interoperability among different payment service providers. CBK has partnered with Safaricom, Equity Bank, ABSA, KCB, Co-operative Bank, Visa, Mastercard, PesaPal, and FSD Kenya. The QR code Standard is issued by the CBK and future partners should reach out to the Director, Banking and Payment Services Department, CBK.

The QR code is universal and can be scanned by the respective apps including the MPESA app and the apps from the banks such as Equity Bank and KCB. Merchants will have one QR code that works with the respective apps. The code will contain the merchant’s information such as business name, unique identifiers for the merchants payment service providers, transaction currency and amount.

CBK says that this will also help collect additional data for future analysis and decision making purposes. Clear data handling policies will be implemented to protect customers privacy by not exchanging information such as phone numbers, identify numbers and email addresses with the merchant by default.

The launch of the KE-QR Code Standard 2023 is one of the many initiatives by the CBK under its National Payments Strategy(2022-2025) to bring fast, secure, efficient and collaborative payments system that supports financial inclusion and innovations to benefit Kenyans.

The universal QR code now brings convenience, choice, security and interoperability among the payments institutions.

How to Pay via the QR Code

  • At a merchant’s point of sale, you’ll see the option to pay via QR code showing the store displayed on a sticker or POS device.
  • You’ll scan via the app provided by your payment service providers of choice(Bank, mobile network operator, Payment service provider) which includes those mentioned above. After scanning, you confirm the merchant store name and transaction value before accepting the payment request.
  • If transaction value is not specified in the merchant QR code, you’ll go ahead and enter the amount required.
  • You then inititate the payment by authenticating the transaction by entering your PIN after all the necessary payment details are captured.
  • Your payments service provider will inititate the payment transactions to the merchants service providers using existing payment transaction rails.
  • Once the payment is complete, you’ll be notified by SMS or in the app to download the receipt.

CBK says that the implementation of the KE-QR Code Standard will use a phased approach.