…amends QR code framework
Following consultations it held with various stakeholders on ways to enhance the flexibility offered by the use of Quick Response (QR) code in payments, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday, announced that it had reviewed Section 3.4 of the QR code framework, which it unveiled in January last year.
According to a circular to all deposit money banks (DMBs), Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) and Payments Service Providers, signed by the Director, Payments System Management Department at the apex bank, Mr. Musa Jimoh, with the amendment of the aforementioned section, the CBN has directed that the implementation of the QR code for payments in the country shall henceforth be
based on either “merchantpresented or consumerpresented modes.” The QR codes are a kind of matrix barcode representing information presented as square grids, made up of black squares against a contrasting background that can be scanned by imaging device, processed and transmitted by appropriate technology.
According to the apex bank, the codes can be used to present, capture and transmit payments information across payments infrastructure while the technology further enables the mobile channel to facilitate payments as well as presents another veritable avenue for promoting electronic payments for micro and small enterprises.
The QR code framework released by the regulator in January last year stipulated the acceptable QR code standards for implementing QR payments in Nigeria; interoperability of QR payments; roles and responsibilities of participants as well as risk management principles for QR code payments.
Acknowledging the significance of this solution, the CBN last year directed all issuers, acquirers, switches, processors and other participants in the country to ensure full interoperability of the schemes.
The CBN stated that the guidelines were in furtherance of its mandate to ensure the safety and stability of the Nigerian financial system, promote the use and adoption of electronic payments and foster innovation in the payments system. The framework provides regulatory guidance for the operation of the scheme and aims to ensure the adoption of appropriate QR code standards for safe and efficient payments services in Nigeria.
The apex bank, in a circular titled: “Framework for Quick Response (QR) Code Payments in Nigeria,” stipulated the acceptable QR code standards for implementing QR payments in Nigeria; interoperability of QR payments; roles and responsibilities of participants as well as risk management principles for QR code payments. It, however, warned that it would sanction any party that failed to comply accordingly with the QR regime, adding that all consumer complaints shall be resolved in accordance with the CBN Consumer Protection Regulation.
The guidelines provided that issuers and acquirers shall clearly define risk management policy and guidelines for the operation of the QR code scheme.
It stated: “QR codes shall, at a minimum, be encrypted (AES) and/ or signed; QR codes payments applications, updates and patches shall be duly certified by the Payment Terminal Service Aggregator (PTSA); issuers and acquirers, shall agree minimum due diligence guidance for merchant on-boarding without prejudice to the KYC/AML requirements of the bank; issuers and acquirers shall ensure that only PTSA certified QR code shall be utilised; issuers and acquirers shall ensure behavioural monitoring and fraud management systems are implemented to prevent, detect and mitigate fraud and money laundering.”