The technology also unleashes a new level of frictionless payments not available to Canadians today, such as integrated tipping at restaurants, next-generation loyalty, and account-less e-commerce where customer payments include their shipping address.
What steps have we taken to make QR payments a reality?
At EY, we convened a consortium of seven industry leaders to help QR payments find their footing here in Canada. Together with international card networks, domestic payment rails, merchant acquirers, payment processors and banks in this multi-part series, we surveyed Canadian businesses and assessed their overwhelming interest in QR payments. We dug deep into use cases, international interoperability, security and a host of other key areas.
Using global leading practices, we worked together over nine weeks to build a Canadian market consensus position aligned with global QR payments standards from EMVCo. That work could now form the foundations of a standard that will harmonize these kinds of payments across market participants from coast to coast.
Those conversations allowed us to move the needle. But we can’t stop there. Our next steps are to complete a proof of concept with the goal of moving ever closer to making this payment mechanism a regular part of Canadians’ everyday lives.
Doing so could prove to be a real game-changer for restaurants, independent retailers and microbusinesses reframing their operations to kick-start their recovery. Still, it will take all of us, working together, to harness the full power and lasting benefits of QR payments.
What does this mean for Canadian payments players?
Merchant acquirers can start processing QR payments. That could take any number of shapes, from enabling the merchant to print a sticker for display at the cash to a symbol on a printed receipt or terminal. As merchants begin to cultivate QR code compatibility, they can begin to ride the wave of possibility while reaping the added economical, convenience and safety benefits of QR payments.
Issuers and e-wallets can begin integrating QR scanning capabilities into their mobile apps. The easier it is for existing customers to scan a QR code, the greater value you bring with truly customer-centric interactions. This capability can fuel your open banking efforts with a rich pipeline of fresh data and real-time insight. It also connects you to merchants who weren’t using any kind of electronic payment services before. By enabling your shared customers to pay through QR codes, you can deepen relationships with previously untapped businesses. That may very well generate new ways of cross-selling and up-selling accounts, lines of credit, lending products and other revenue-generating opportunities.
All payments players can start exploring QR payments through a new lens. Teeing up real-time transfers means building the right framework for success. That’s how you increase the adoption of domestic payment solutions systems from coast to coast. Being part of that dialogue and embracing the upside now puts network players ahead of the curve in the eyes of businesses as leaders in merchant payments.
Regulators can lead the way in supporting uptake with the right policies and guidelines. Getting involved now empowers regulators to set the stage for how this works, and lead the rollout in a way that’s most beneficial to the broader economy. Doing so will drive a spirit of transparency and offer a clear line of sight into who’s using this payment method, when and why. That’s valuable insight that can — and should — continue to influence policy decisions for years to come.
Building a better working world one payment at a time
Transformative change requires transformational leadership. Widespread adoption of QR payments could be a key tool in the economic recovery now beginning to take shape on the frontlines of Canadian businesses. Each of us must do our part to cultivate the conversation and explore what that could mean not just for us, but for a world that works inherently better in the face of whatever comes after what’s next.
What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. That doesn’t mean payments have to take on an “all or nothing” feel. When we work together across the system to build out new paths forward, we strengthen existing ones and discover new potential. If you could springboard off QR payments now to generate that kind of momentum, why would you wait?