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Kenya's Central Bank launches QR code for financial institutions

By , Kenya-based correspondent
Kenya , 04 May 2023
The CBK governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge hands over the Kenya Quick Response Code Standard booklet to KCB Bank Kenya managing director Annastacia Kimtai.
The CBK governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge hands over the Kenya Quick Response Code Standard booklet to KCB Bank Kenya managing director Annastacia Kimtai.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on Wednesday announced the issuance and implementation of the Kenya Quick Response Code Standard 2023 (KE-QR Code Standard 2023; or the Standard).

The Standard will guide how financial institutions regulated by the CBK will issue QR codes to consumers and businesses that accept digital payments.

The move is part of CBK’s National Payments Strategy 2022 - 2025, which 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 unveiling of the QR Standard yesterday, Kenya is joining other markets that have implemented the standardized approach of issuing QR codes to facilitate payments.

These countries include the Philippines, Jordan, South Africa, Singapore, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, India, and China.

On the project, Central Bank governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge said, his team partnered with the Cooperative Bank, Equity Bank, KCB Bank MPesa, and Safaricom.

“To me, this is a milestone in more than one respect, in particular, it is a milestone because of the collaboration that has taken place,” he said.

The introduction of QR payments by the Central Bank is also the latest step by Kenya towards expanding the growing digital payments.

Globally, QR payments have experienced increased adoption due to drastic shifts in banking behaviour towards digital banking and e-commerce.

On a basic level, QR codes are barcodes that can be scanned using smartphones and tablets. Once the QR code is scanned, it takes the user to a Web site URL, displays information.

In Kenya, the implementation of the Standard, and use of standardised QR Code-enabled payments, is expected to benefit businesses and customers who will now be able to make digital payments in an easy, fast, convenient, and secure manner.

Previously, customers had to manually input different payment codes and numbers, which created friction and cumbersome payment processes.

Also, the Kenyan QR code standard is being punted as a key catalyst in promoting financial inclusion and the adoption of digital payments.

In the long term, the Central bank said 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, therefore enabling interoperability.”

Speaking at the launch, the Central Bank governor said the Standard Code was designed to ensure financial inclusion and innovation for Kenyans.

“The idea here, and the vision was to have a secure, fast, efficient, and collaborative payment system that supports financial inclusion and innovation that benefits Kenyans. Basically, this is something that goes back to the Kenyans. And that's really why we do what we do,” Njoroge said.

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