QR codes brought credit card and debit card payments to large, promising markets such as China, India, and Mexico through retailers such as Alipay, WeChat Pay, Paytm, and Mercado Libre. The acceptance model is now being offered to markets previously considered too weak or too unbanked.
The Daily Star (Bangladesh) reports on Visa’s move to include the country of Bangladesh in QR acceptance.
The World Bank indicates 0% penetration of credit cards and only 6% debit card usage in this country. In progressive, emerging markets, debit card usage is closer to 30%, and credit card usage is at least in single digits, indicating at least some progress in financial inclusion.
The country has a labor force of 67 million, drawn from a population of 160 million with a 4.4% unemployment rate. With 25% of the population below the poverty line, and a per capita income of only $4,200, the CIA Factbook indicates that the country experiences high levels of poverty. But, with 92% of the country using mobile devices, there is the promise for long term development.
The Daily Star reports:
- Visa yesterday announced that it would launch an interoperable quick response (QR) payment system in Bangladesh within the next one and a half months as part of efforts to expand its business.
- Paying for goods will no longer need point of sale (POS) terminals at shops or other places, TR Ramachandran, country manager for Visa India and South Asia, said at a press conference at InterContinental Dhaka.
- Clients will have to just use mobile banking apps linked to their debit, credit and prepaid cards to scan QR codes displayed by merchants, he said.
- Visa, one of the global leaders in digital payments technology, is working with various banks and partners across the country to enhance the acceptance of digital payments, Ramachandran said.
- Ramachandran also thanked Bangladesh Bank for recently drawing up relevant guidelines for the payment system, which the central bank is terming Bangla QR.
Mercator Advisory Group’s research in QR codes finds that there are three triggering points for this payment form to take effect: The involvement of the Central Bank; the presence of retailers driving towards digital engagement; the interest of a payment network to help accelerate the movement. Visa’s investment in this relatively developing country, albeit the eighth-largest country in the world, is another indication that QR codes are bringing payments to the world.
This is a far departure from George Harrison’s 1971 Outcry, and now the first step towards financial inclusion.
Overview by Brian Riley, Director, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group