By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A framework for the use of the Quick Response (QR) code for payments in the country has been released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
QR codes are matrix barcode with information presented as black square grids that can be scanned by an imaging device, processed and transmitted by appropriate technology.
The technology enables the mobile channel to facilitate payments and presents another veritable avenue for promoting electronic payments for micro and small enterprises.
According to the CBN, the QR codes can be used to present, capture and transmit payments information across payments infrastructure.
In order to regulate the use of this technology in the financial sector in the country, especially in the payment services sub-sector, the CBN released guidelines.
It explained that the aim is to ensure that the adoption of appropriate QR code standards enables safe and efficient payments services in the country.
The apex bank said to achieve this, QR code payments must be based on the EMV® QR Code Specification for Payment Systems, though it stressed that it 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).
According to the CBN, the QR code payments implementation must support account, wallet, card and token-based QR code operations, while its implementation would be based on the merchant-presented mode.
The central bank noted that merchants must use and display only approved QR codes, comply with service agreements executed with the acquirer, cooperate with the acquirer to investigate any reported fraudulent transaction, report suspicious use of QR codes for payments to the acquire, conform with the rules and regulation of the acquirer, and be guided by the extant CBN Guidelines on Electronic Payments Channels in Nigeria.
The apex bank also said all issuers, acquirers, switches, processors and other participants in QR payments in Nigeria must ensure full interoperability of QR code schemes in the country, with issuers and acquirers clearly stating risk management policy and guidelines for the operation of the technology.
It further said all consumer complaints must be resolved in accordance with the CBN Consumer Protection Regulation, while all parties must comply with the provisions of this framework and other relevant guidelines, emphasising that appropriate sanctions would be taken on any party that fails to comply accordingly.
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