CBK has launched a new QR Standard aimed at streamlining payment services in Kenya

QR Standard

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has announced the issuance and implementation of the Kenya QR Standard 2023 (KE-QR Code Standard 2023), which will guide how Payment Service Providers and banks regulated by the CBK issue Quick Response (QR) codes to consumers and businesses that accept digital payments.

QR codes are a type of machine-readable code that contains information used to initiate and accept digital payments made by customers at various points of sale. The implementation of the QR Standard and the use of standardized QR code-enabled payments will bring practical benefits to businesses and customers alike. Customers will now be able to make digital payments in an easy, fast, convenient, and secure manner using QR codes. This will replace the previously cumbersome payment processes that involved manually inputting different payment codes and numbers, which were prone to errors and caused friction.

The QR Standard will also promote financial inclusion by enabling institutions of various sizes and customer focus to increase the adoption of digital payments. In the long term, the use of standardized 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, which will lead to greater interoperability.

The QR Standard has been developed through collaboration between CBK, Payment Service Providers, banks, card schemes, and other stakeholders. Based on the EMVCo QR Code Specification, it will be rolled out in a phased approach as players align their operations to the requirements set out in the Standard and increase customer awareness.

Issuance of the Standard is an important step in the implementation of the National Payments Strategy 2022 – 2025, launched in February 2022 to support the adoption of key standards and align Kenya’s National Payment System to global best practice. With the launch of the QR Standard, Kenya is joining other leading markets that have implemented the standardized approach to issuing QR codes for facilitating payments, including the Philippines, Jordan, South Africa, Singapore, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, India, and China.

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