Mastercard Inc. is expanding the options for merchants and consumers who want to use Quick Response codes for mobile payments.
The expansion of Masterpass QR, announced Wednesday, will enable a merchant to scan a QR code generated and displayed on a consumer’s smart phone and process the payment through the Mastercard network, the card brand says. The QR code will adhere to a newly released spec from EMVCo, the EMV standards body, that enables consumers to make QR code transactions using credentials associated with the EMV chip cards previously provisioned to their devices.
Mastercard launched Masterpass QR in 2016 with an eye to enabling consumers with any type of phone to make in-person purchases without a plastic card, says Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard vice president of global enterprise risk and security, in an email. The service debuted in Pakistan, and then quickly launched in six other Middle East and African markets.
“The use of QR codes in certain markets complements the extensive investment in contactless payments to provide merchants of all sizes—from international chains to individual shop owners and street vendors—a fast, secure, and inexpensive way to accept payments,” Bhalla says.
Payments via QR code will use Mastercard’s M/Chip technology, which relies on the company’s EMV infrastructure to process the transaction. The EMVCo spec says transactions made based on its standard are always authorized online.
Mastercard’s QR code initiative may even spur some merchants to adopt near-field communication technology, another form of contactless payments, says Bhalla. “In fact, we believe that QR will help drive greater growth of NFC acceptance,” he says. “There may be some instances where it is not viable economically for merchants to accept NFC payments. In these cases, we will start with QR and over time begin to introduce traditional or mobile POS.”