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Friday, January 25, 2013

QR code standards formalized for bill payments

Quick response (QR) codes are popping up everywhere, from sports venues to coffee shops, to facilitate mobile payments and comparison shopping. But QR codes are also showing up on bill statements. The Council for Electronic Billing and Payment, operated by NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association, issued final guidelines for the use of QR codes in such consumer bill payment environments.

The QR Encoding for Consumer Bill Pay Guidelines document identifies standards for using QR codes in both biller direct and consolidator/aggregator billing and payment models. Recommendations include the size of QR codes, what data the codes should contain, as well as how that data should be laid out in the code. The document describes a variety of ways QR codes can be employed, such as to view bills, make bill payments, enroll consumers in e-bill and online banking services.

The CEBP said the goal of the guidelines is to establish a single QR code format that can be printed on a paper bill and scanned by the consumer's smart phone, which may then direct that consumer to a biller's website to pay a bill, for example. "In this way, billers and service providers can enable QR encoding in a standardized format, providing certainty for biller and banking clients, and ensuring a consistent experience for consumers," the CEBP noted.

The guidelines resulted from a collaboration between CEBP members and industry input. Payments industry members of the CEBP include MasterCard Worldwide, Elavon, Fiserv Inc., Fidelity National Information Services Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Javelin Strategy & Research.

The CEBP seeks to organize a QR code test of the standards for early adopters in 2013. The council said the purpose of the test will be to verify the specification and to help develop market participants in QR code bill payments. To participate in the test, organizations are encouraged to contact NACHA's Robert Unger at (703) 561-3913 or runger@nacha.org by March 1, 2013.

To obtain a copy of the guidelines, go to cebp.nacha.org/QRcodes. end of article

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