What is Bharat QR Code?

Demonetization of old currency notes has crafted path for the Indian Government to get closer to digital payments. In order to encourage cashless payments and digitize India initiative UPI was introduced to smartphones. UPI – Unified Payments Interface as well as USSD- Unstructured Supplementary Services Data was implemented. These both will be basic mobile features as part of mobile banking. Apart from this BHIM App – Bharat Interface for money App has joined hands with UPI and Aadhar pay. Transactions will then be cashless via Aadhar card backed with biometric authentication of transactions through finger prints. Bharat QR code is a next step to these cashless transactions.

NPCI Launches Bharat QR Code

Recently people have been involved in cashless transactions through debit and credit card but at a transaction cost associated to the same. Thus though people wish to go cashless the additional charges are a reason to create drawbacks, with the introduction of Bharat QR code this additional transaction cost of being cashless will be nullified. Diving in deeper into the integrities of Bharat QR code will help us understand various benefits and importance of the same.

The State of Digital Transactions in India

There is no doubt about the fact that there is nearly 500% spike in payments via plastic. Various types of cards are now replacing the feel of real money in hands on one side and on the other side e-wallets as well are also getting noticeable transactions. This is irrespective of the cost associated with going cashless, Indian minister has also launched a free-to-air channel called as DigiShala and cashless India in order to ensure there is enough information for people about digital transactions. In rural parts of India- Doordharshan channel is in use by more than 2 crore people, thus introducing education of digital transaction through this medium will be the best source to influence and convenience for rural population. With E-wallet transactions in the country, there will be more accountability of money, it will be easy to generate tax and India can drive itself closer to becoming a developed economy.

Government will always have opportunity to come up with welfare schemes and offers when there is money in bank. Apart from this, there will be control on fund that is being raised for various illegal activities. In other words it also means control on black money being funded for various types of corruptions. Point of Sales machines (PoS) is being introduced in India’s rural area’s to encourage the community over there to bring their funds to banks. Inconvenience should not be an excuse when it comes to bettering the country’s economy on the whole. With regard to technology, Indian’s are good at observing, adopting and empowering it as they enjoy.

UPI – Towards a Cashless Future!

How does Bharat QR Code works?

Carrying many cards while travelling or juggling through different e-payments options will no more be a concern if you start with Bharat QR code. Being a customer in India, there will be no more a need to check if the merchant will accept cards and if there are any cost for transacting. The working of Bharat QR code is pretty simple. All you need to do is to go through the four simple steps to ensure transaction is successful.

  • Link your MasterCard, Visa, RuPay platforms/ cards to your banks mobile app(there will be an inbuilt code reader for QR in these systems)
  • Link either card or personal banks account details to mobile-app(one-time activity)
  • Once purchase is complete, simply scan the barcode “BQR” using the mobile app
  • Billed amount will be auto transferred from customers account to merchant account

This service can be used at all locations- all outlets that accept payments for services offered will start accepting payments via Bharat QR. All outlets at bus depots, shops, railway stations, petrol pumps, grocery store, markets, malls, hospitals and dispensaries will start accepting BQR code as payment mode.

With the intervention of new Bharat QR code, all transactions in India could go cashless. All merchants require just a unique scan able code from customer to process payments from customer’s account to merchant’s bank account. For this purpose every customer should have a mobile phone (basic model or smartphone) and should have the relevant app downloaded to sync their bank account or card to mobile device. Once this set up is complete, customers can start picking up goods and services as per their choice and make payments by just flashing bar codes on their mobile. All banks are expected to add this bar code feature to their existing applications or should come up with an upgraded version of app to facilitate this feature to everyone.

Another question around Bharat QR is what will be the cost involved for merchants to start scanning these customer codes. Luckily, there is no PoS machine installation required for scanning the Bharat QR codes instead a simple code scanning machine is all that is required by the merchants and they can start receiving payments to their bank accounts. Irrespective of which bank account the customer uses the Bharat QR code will be adoptable across all bar-code scanning machines.

Step by Step Guide on How to Make Payments using Bharat QR Code and BHIM App

  1. Open BHIM app
  2. Enter details of the person whom you want to send payment
  3. Put amount and click on send
  4. Enter OTP (One-time password) and you are done
  5. Money will be sent instantly.
Updated 30, 2016
Current Version 1. 0
Android Requirement 4.1 and up
Offered By National Payments
Corporation of India (NPCI)
Total Users 1,000,000 – 5,000,000
Rating 3+ Star

How to Accept Payments using Bharat QR Code (for Merchants)?

Though currently only few banks and financial institutions are offering this feature to all, this is highly beneficial and people have started to make use of the opportunity wisely. The HDFC bank Payzapp as well as ICICI bank Pocket App is allowing this type of payments to its clients. Here are the steps required to be taken in order to have successful payments:

  • The customer should first download Payzapp App or the Pocket App into their phone
  • Install, open and sign up into the application with credit/debit card details
  • Once the above steps are complete, 4 digit pin code has to be set to securitize your transactions
  • The application is now linked with your bank account or card details and is now almost set to be used for payments through Bharat QR code
  • Once purchasing or service is complete, the customer can now make payments by opening the application, scrolling down and clicking on Bharat QR option
  • The code at the merchant’s cash counter will be scanned by the customers using these apps
  • And then the payment is made to merchant’s bank account via debit or credit cards or via VPA. It can be Mastercard, VISA or even Rupay cards
  • Once the transaction is completed, customers will get a “Success” notification on their mobile App Screen. And merchant on the other side will get a notification on his mobile phone confirming the success of payment receipt.

Benefits of Digitized Payments using BQR Code

As the effect of demonetization, India is moving closer and closer to a cashless environment. All the initial confusion and awfulness is now pretty much settled. The move towards accepting online transactions has brought lot of tangible benefits and convenience. The online transactions will be even smoother if there are no additional charges implied. Bharat QR code is here with a solution to this feature. All those who are accepting cashless economy is benefited with additional discounts and offers apart from other implied benefit such as:

  • Convenience: The biggest motivating factor of cashless India or for going online is the convenience offered to the people who are using this facility. The need for carrying cards, huge wallets, and bundles of cash or even queuing in ATMs for cash withdrawals is now eradicated by going cashless. Anytime there is a need for travel, going cashless is much safer and easy. There are lots of such benefits for common man by being cashless except the low income group people. Apart from these, cashless transactions will also come to help during emergency situations. Now that all sectors start to accept online payments, in order to make some urgent payments, just few clicks is more than sufficient. People in India will have the freedom to transact anywhere and everywhere. There is no more a need of physical presence required in order to complete the necessary transactions.
  • Discounts: Government has waived off service taxes up to ₹ 2000 on card transactions. Apart from these there are lot many free-offers and rate cuts by the Government to promote and encourage going cashless through Bharat QR codes. Taking advantage of such benefits will even bring an uptick to your savings. Other areas where discounts and offers are provided by the Government for going cashless are highway toll, railway ticket booking, and insurance purchase. Some stores are offering additional reward points as well as loyalty benefits to its existing customers who are making online payments.
  • Budget Planning: Once all your transactions turn to be online, it will be pretty easier to plan and track your budget. Whether to control or to check the spending style, going cashless will certainly help. There are various tools and Apps that can analyze your spending and will accordingly help you to control from over-spending. It will more work like a financial planner.

Also another highlight here is cash will not flow out of the system, thus it will be easy for government to tackle, plan and forecast budget based on these. More money in banks in other words mean, better living for people in the economy. Unaccounted spends and budgeting leaks will be under checks.

  • Low Risk- Unless cash, the security a making payments through cash is safe for customer and merchants. In case of theft of cards, the same can be blocked by the user and ensure money in itself. There is less than 5% chance of getting your money back if you lose your wallet. This risk is covered by going cashless. Also during travelling and emergency situations, safeguarding money in hand will no more be a concern. The futuristic cards are even looking to implement features such as eye scan, face detectors and fingerprints; this will make online transactions even more secure, quick and reliable.
  • Gains – Apart from all the major benefits listed above, these small ones are also very beneficial when it comes to saving some hard earned money. There is no need to worry about tendering exact change for products and services used. There is an easy excuse to not lend to others or to give credit facilities. Save tax on digital transaction for 15% up to transaction limit of Rs. 2000. Fuel purchases through e-wallets, cards and mobile wallets will offer 0.75% discount. Railway catering is offering 5% discount on catering, retiring rooms and accommodation payments through digitization. 10% discount is offered on National Highway Tollgate payment via fast-tags or RFID. Also a discount up to 10% is offered for premium payment on General insurance and on LIC policies premium payment made via online attracts 8% discount.

Important Facts to Know for Customers:

  1. Helps in having reliable payment mechanism- NPCI- National Payments Corp of India has developed Bharat QR in order to get India closer to cashless economy through Master cards and VISA accessing via mobile app. This government owned and RBI regulated body will overlook the overall mechanisms of payments with the help of QR code. USSD features and UPI app was launched by NPCI earlier to ensure payments for transactions are smoother, quick and also reliable.
  1. Cost reduction Merchants can get benefits from QR code implementations as they need not install a PoS machine in their shops to accept non-cash payments from customers. Plus no additional cost has to be incurred by the merchants to accept digital payments. The merchant just has to embed a QR code near their cash counter and can start receiving payments to their bank account. There is no additional maintenance cost; there are no installations of any type of additional spending for this style of online payment acceptance.
  1. Supported by payment terminals- 14 banks have been tied up with NPCI and thus the support for Bharat QR code is high. Payment terminals such as MasterCard, Rupay, VISA and American express have connected with this initiative. In December 2016 the BHIM App was launched, since then making payments have been quick, smooth and a handy process.

Important Facts to Know for Merchants

With this system there is no more need of PoS machines to be installed in shops by the merchant, this means less cost on receiving payment. Once a QR code is generated it can be displayed at all areas of the shop as per requirement and you can start receiving payments continuously within few minutes through safer channels. All this makes receiving payments safer, quick with less time and efforts. This is a very big win for the India digital economy. In order to encourage cashless payments and to promote online transactions- Bharat QR is a positive initiative.

Effect on the Digital Wallets

The official announcement of demonetization by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has crowned all payments and transactions in India to go digital. The digital wallets transactions have stood up drastically as per reports from RBI. It is also said that four times up in number and value of transactions is seen from December 2016 in India. Merchants and customers have accepted the new payment initiatives implemented by the Government and a lot of support and assistance is offered by corporate sector as well towards Digitization of India. Point of Sales (PoS) terminals have seen a spike in volumes post 2016 December. The forced change in people’s behavior has made payments in India go online.

Parameters of Bharat QR Code

Parameter Required or Optional Description
cht=qr Required Specifies a QR code.
chs=<width>x<height> Required Image size.
chl=<data> Required The data to encode. Data can be digits (0-9), alphanumeric characters, binary bytes of data, or Kanji. You cannot mix data types within a QR code. The data must be UTF-8 URL-encoded. Note that URLs have a 2K maximum length, so if you want to encode more than 2K bytes (minus the other URL characters), you will have to send your data using POST.
choe=<output_encoding> Optional How to encode the data in the QR code. Here are the available values:
UTF-8 [Default]
chld=<error_correction_level>|<margin> Optional error_correction_level – QR codes support four levels of error correction to enable recovery of missing, misread, or obscured data. Greater redundancy is achieved at the cost of being able to store less data. See the appendix for details. Here are the supported values:
L – [Default] Allows recovery of up to 7% data loss
M – Allows recovery of up to 15% data loss
Q – Allows recovery of up to 25% data loss
H – Allows recovery of up to 30% data loss
Margin – The width of the white border around the data portion of the code. This is in rows, not in pixels. (See below to learn what rows are in a QR code.) The default value is 4.

Bharat QR Code Standards

  • AIM International (Automatic Identification Manufacturers International) standard (ISS – QR Code) in October 1997
  • JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) standard (JIS X 0510) in January 1999
  • ISO international standard (ISO/IEC18004) in June 2000
  • JEIDA (Japanese Electronic Industry Development Association) standard (JEIDA-55) in March 1998
  • The QR code standard is trademarked by Denso Wave, Inc.
  • The ISO sells the English language specification on their site
  • The Japanese language specification version is free
  • QR code reader software is available from many sources.
  • Google offers a QR Code reader library, Zebra Crossing (ZXing), for free
  • There are a fixed set of QR code sizes: from 21 to 177 rows/columns, increasing in steps of four
  • Each configuration i=of QR code is called a version
  • The best QR code readers are able to read Version 40 codes
  • QR codes are a popular type of two-dimensional barcode
  • QR codes are also known as hardlinks or physical world hyperlinks
  • The API will determine which version to use, based on the amount of data provided by users
  • QR codes can be read by an optical device with the appropriate software
  • It is possible to create QR codes through online
  • QR Codes store up to 4,296 alphanumeric characters of arbitrary text
  • Before generating your QR code, consider what kind of device is used to read your code
  • Mobile devices might only be able to read up to Version 4
  • Bharat QR Code has error correction capability.
  • Data stored in it can be restored even if it is dirty or partially damaged

How will Bharat QR affect Indian Economy and Banking in India?

Ever since demonetization, the Indian economy is greatly impacted. The push from government to start making all transactions digitized is very aggressive. This is the main reason why there is such high uptick in e-transactions in the country. Public understands that this is very beneficial in the long run plus in order to promote online transactions Indian government is offering many discounts and attractive freebies to those who are using e-wallets to pay for transactions.

Make use of these features to convert all future transactions through digital medium. Save hard earned money and say “no” to black money and corruption. All payments and transactions will be legal and right as per the eyes of law.