The Central Bank of Nigeria has released the framework for Quick Response (QR) code payments in Nigeria.
The latest move is part of efforts by the apex Bank to ensure the safety and stability of the Nigerian financial system, promote the use and adoption of electronic payments and foster innovation in the payments system.
The framework provides regulatory guidance for the operation of quick response in payment services in the financial sector of the nation’s economy.
It aims to ensure the adoption of appropriate QR code standards for safe and efficient payments services in Nigeria.
Quick response codes are a kind of matrix barcode representing information presented as square grids, made up of black squares against a contrasting background that can be scanned by an imaging device, processed and transmitted by appropriate technology.
These codes are expected to be used to present, capture and transmit payments information across payments infrastructure. The technology further enables the mobile channel to facilitate payments and presents another veritable avenue for promoting electronic payments for micro and small enterprises.
The framework stipulates acceptable QR code standards for implementing quick response payments in Nigeria; interoperability of QR payments in Nigeria; roles and responsibilities of participants in QR payments in Nigeria; and risk management principles for QR code payments in Nigeria.
“The Bank may also approve the implementation of any other QR Code Standard, provided it meets the prescribed security requirements within the framework, demonstrates interoperability with other existing implementation in the industry and/or cost benefits to end-users (merchants and customers) and QR code payments in Nigeria shall be based on the EMV® QR code specification for payment systems,” the framework stated.
Participants in QR Code Payment in Nigeria include merchants, bank customers, Issuers (Banks, MMOs and Other Financial Institutions), Acquirers (Banks, MMOs and Other Financial Institutions) and payments service providers.
“All parties shall comply with the provisions of this framework and other relevant guidelines issued by the CBN. The Bank shall apply appropriate sanctions to any party that fails to comply accordingly,” the statement posted on the website of the central bank yesterday added.
Meanwhile, the CBN has also released a fresh guideline to ensure new and more flexible ways of engaging with the industry.
The bank said the move is in response to the increasing consumer appetite for payment solutions and emerging disruptive technology in the financial services space.
According to the framework that was released yesterday, one of the options being the use of a Regulatory Sandbox which is a formal process for firms to conduct live tests of new, innovative products, services, delivery channels, or business models in a controlled environment, with regulatory oversight, subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards.
The expectation is that the move would enable the Bank stay abreast of innovations while promoting a safe, reliable and efficient Payments System to foster innovation without compromising on the delivery of its mandate.
The aim is to increase the potential for innovative business models that advance financial inclusion; reduce time-to-market for innovative products, services, and business models; to increase competition, widen consumers’ choice and lower costs; and ensure appropriate consumer protection safeguards in innovative products.