Contactless QR Code Payments: Future-Proof Transactions

April 27, 2023

Electrum Payments

Electrum Payments

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Contactless QR Code Payments: Future-Proof Transactions

*Updated April 2023

In early 2020, Electrum helped two of the country’s largest retailers (Shoprite and Pick n Pay) implement QR Code Payments – firsts for South Africa at the time. Thanks to our experience with this technology, we were able to roll it out in record time in response to our clients’ needs.

This was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and was the perfect time to introduce a zero-contact payment mechanism. However, over the last year or two, as the world shifted back to pre-pandemic normalcy, the relevance of QR code payments has grown beyond the need for social distancing. This payment method has proved to be a valuable addition to the retail payments world, bringing contactless convenience to the fold.

…pleased to help two of Africa’s largest retail networks implement QR code payment capability…

Three years ago, retailers were doing all they could to protect the safety of both their customers and staff, while providing essential goods to the public. In April 2020, Electrum was only too pleased to help two of Africa's largest retail networks implement QR code payment capabilities in efforts to limit contact between shoppers and cashiers. Shoprite was the first retailer to roll out QR code functionality across South Africa, and Pick n Pay's implementation followed closely behind. Today, QR code payments are easily available, whether customers are buying groceries or other essentials from major outlets.

Electrum’s technology allows a QR code to be generated dynamically at a till point. Unlike the static codes often seen on stands on restaurant countertops, dynamic codes are displayed digitally on screen at pay points and are unique to each transaction. There’s less room for error, since the amount payable can be embedded in the QR code and doesn’t have to be entered manually by the customer. Importantly, the customer and teller needn’t handle cards or cash, making it a quick and convenient no-touch mechanism.

…South Africans are embracing new payment technologies…

A general trend our own research identified is that South Africans are embracing new payment technologies more and more every day. When retailers offer safe, convenient ways to pay, their customers respond. And QR code payments come with additional benefits for retailers: less onerous compliance requirements, the ability to aggregate multiple tender types (like vouchers, loyalty points, and credit card payments) on a single QR code, customer identification for use with loyalty programs, information on shopping behaviour, and the ability to send personal communication to customers’ devices.

While the 2020 roll-out of QR code technology for our clients was certainly timely, Electrum’s extensive research and development allowed us to help our clients respond to consumer demand and implement it quickly. Over several years, we’ve worked closely with Mastercard to optimise our interoperable QR Code Payment solution in line with EMVCo protocols. EMVCo is the international body set up by major players in the payments sector to address standardisation of the technology and facilitate worldwide acceptance of secure payments.

Electrum has helped to establish guidelines for QR transactions...

We have also been an active member of the working group for standardising QR code payments, organised by PASA (Payments Association of South Africa). While Mastercard has global reach and PASA focuses on South Africa, both organisations are working towards similar goals. With the other partners of the PASA QR code working group, Electrum has helped to establish guidelines for QR code transactions that protect consumers and retailers, particularly around user experience and standardisation of QR code payment rails, as defined in Project Future.

The work of Project Future is ongoing, but PASA acknowledges the EMVCo international standard. Currently, Electrum is the leading payments processing Software as a Service (SaaS) provider in South Africa. 

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you future-proof your business using our QR Code Payment solution. 

Electrum Payments

Electrum Payments

Electrum provides transaction processing solutions to banks, retailers, and MNOs, helping them to find better ways to transact. As a vibrant and innovative SaaS company, we deliver industry-leading expertise and technology to solve real problems every day.

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