February 9, 2023
DHAKA – In a bid to gear up digital transactions, banks and financial institutions have been asked to replace their proprietary QR codes within June with a uniform one developed earlier by the Bangladesh Bank.
The central bank gave the directive yesterday as most banks and financial institutions are reluctant to embrace the common platform although two years have passed since the system was launched.
The central bank also withdrew a maximum daily transaction limit of Tk 20,000 for an individual client using Bangla QR.
A quick response (QR) code is a type of barcode that stores information as a series of pixels in a square grid and can easily be read by smartphones.
Essentially any smartphone with a built-in QR scanner can be used to scan QR codes through the camera to make payments whereas a proprietary code can only be scanned via a specific application.
Banks, mobile financial service (MFS) providers, payment service providers (PSPs), and payment system operators (PSOs) will be allowed to set transaction limits for individual clients based on their transaction profiles, according to a BB notice.
A Bangladesh Bank official said the central bank introduced its QR code styled “Bangla QR” two years ago, but the majority of banks, MFS providers, PSPs and PSOs have not shown interest in embracing the platform.
Rather, they are using their own proprietary QR codes, which is why the central bank is facing difficulties in bringing digital transactions under a common platform, he said.
So, the central bank has made the replacement mandatory for all banks and other related financial institutions.
Under the system, clients of all banks and related financial institutions will be able to conduct transactions with Bangla QR codes anywhere, such as grocery stores and street shops.
The central bank’s initiative came at a time when a growing segment of the population has started preferring conducting transactions digitally because of the convenience it offers.
The BB official said the central bank plans to install QR code booths across the capital on a massive scale in the quickest possible time before moving to divisional cities with a view to helping small businesses accept digital payments.
Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director of Mutual Trust Bank, said the central bank’s initiative was a time-befitting one as it would give a boost to digital transactions.
The QR code-based payments will quickly gain popularity in remote areas as the central bank in November 2020 relaxed the rules pertaining to the opening of personal retail accounts by micro and underprivileged businesses. Clients will also be encouraged to use the QR code as well, said the official.
Clients already can pay bills by scanning a QR code using their smartphones at major outlets if there is an agreement between the outlet and the entity that holds the customer account.