Bharat QR (Quick Response) code is a 2-dimensional machine-readable code made up of black-white squares of different sizes. These are scanned by the smartphone camera. According to the RBI, Bharat QR code is used to standardize payments using QR code throughout the country. Mastercard, VISA, and American Express have collaborated with the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch and push the Bharat QR code alternative to payments.

After demonetization, the Indian government has made its priority to make payments online initiative. For this, the government has launched

  1. UPI (Unified Payments Interface) for smartphones
  2. USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) for basic and feature phones
  3. BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) as a unified UPI app
  4. The government has also launched Aadhar Pay that uses Aadhar card’s biometric system to make a cashless transaction.
  5. Now, it has launched the Bharat QR code to make easier cashless transactions electronically.

Also read: All about aadhar mobile application

PoS system of making payments

For some years, the payments were made without the use of cash using a Credit/Debit card. It was called the PoS (Point of Sale) machine. But there was a flip side to that initiative. Some of them are

  • The cost of running and maintaining the swiping machine was very high
  • The transaction fee was also included in this process
  • The need to carry a Debit/Credit card was also a necessity
  • There is a limit to transactions in this case

Must read: What are the types of credit card 

Advantages of using Bharat QR code

These limitations were rectified with the advent of the Bharat QR code.

  • Bharat QR code users will not suffer from card loss or expiry problems.
  • Scanning the QR code will initiate the payments and transfer the money from one source to another.
  • The money transferred will directly go to the receiver’s account, unlike in digital wallet where payments are received via e-mails
  • It is not a closed-loop system i.e. it is interoperable among all the banks of India.
  • Also, there is no maintaining or running cost associated with enabling QR code payments.

The current scenario in QR code payments

QR code payments were accepted by most of the merchants across the country but it works in a closed-loop system. Visa is the developer of QR code payments and has already launched mVisa. As a matter of fact, mVisa is a widely used system across the globe. A year ago, DTH operator TataSky had ventured with Visa to accept QR code payments. After demonetization, there is a surge of E-wallet services like Paytm, Mobikwik, and Freecharge.

The only issue with these apps is that both the parties involved in the transaction need to have the same application installed on their phones.

Steps to generate Bharat QR code

If you are a shopkeeper/retailer, follow these simple steps to start using QR code facilities

  1. Primarily, make a bank account (in case you don’t have one)
  2. Download BHIM app
  3. Now, link your bank account with the BHIM app
  4. Click on generate QR code in the BHIM app
  5. Take a printout and paste it in your shop
  6. Now, you can start accepting transactions using this code.

Steps to make payments using the QR code

Currently, only 2 banks, namely HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank app have the integrated option to use this code, but more banks are coming with this mode of payment. For users of other banks follow these steps

  1. First of all, install the BHIM app
  2. Scan the QR code, present at the store of the merchant
  3. Now, enter the amount needs to be transferred along with a remark and a 4-digit code
  4. Once the authentication is over, the money will get transferred to the merchant’s account

Notable Features of Bharat QR code

Open Payment Interface

There are competitions to the Bharat QR code system. Some of these are mVisa by Visa card and MasterPass QR by Mastercard. But these are closed systems i.e. payments by mVisa will be available to only Visa card users and MasterPass QR to Mastercard users. This is not the case of Bharat QR code systems. All users can make payments using this service.

UPI Integration

Payments based on UPI are also supported by Bharat QR. This makes the payment systems interoperable since there is a need for Bank account numbers to be fed in this system.

Number of banks using Bharat QR

There are a total of 14 banks using this service as of now. These are State Bank of India, Yes Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Citi Union Bank, HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank, Union Bank of India, RBL Bank, Development Credit Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, and Vijaya Bank. More banks are ready to join in the future.

The process of payment using Bharat QR

The process is simplified to be in use by everyone handling a smartphone. The steps are mentioned above.

Secure payments

There was a risk associated with the PoS system of payment, as the card details can be copied using skimming technology. But, in this case, all you need is to scan the code and proceed to make the payment. No bank details are mentioned.

Lower transaction costs

Since there is no need to buy and maintain the PoS machine now and there is no need to carry a debit/credit card to make the payment, the overall transaction cost has gone down significantly.

A joint effort by major payment getaways

It is a team effort by American Express, Visa, Mastercard along with NPCI to make this possible. And so, it will not be a problem if you have a Visa card and the merchant is using Mastercard, it is a common gateway to make payments.

Diversity in making Payments

There another option available for making payments. Under this, the merchant will generate a new QR code and you needn’t enter the amount but scan the code to complete the transaction.


It is important to understand the need for a cashless economy in today’s changing world. But it also depends upon the awareness of people to determine the advantages of such initiatives. What will be the future of Debit/card credit payment portals and E-wallet services is yet to unfold before our eyes.


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