Over the last few years, India has witnessed a significant shift in the way one transacts, across industries. This shift has been fuelled by the emergence of a range of technologies, including IMPS, internet banking, mobile wallets, card payments, QR code, tap-and-pay, et al. Economic factors, government policies, smartphone proliferation, increasing internet usage, and more, have propelled customers to discover the benefits of digital transactions.

Accelerated usage of QR with COVID-19

One of the biggest drivers of the adoption of digital payments has been the pandemic of 2020. A game-changer for financial payments, COVID-19 imposed restrictions in the daily lives of customers and businesses alike, altering the way India pays. Strict protocols such as social distancing, safety measures, lockdowns, curfews, and more, jolted retailers across the spectrum into offering digital payment options to customers who preferred to stay home and pay via their mobile phones. Although the market picked up in the latter half of last year, safety continued to remain a primary concern.

The last 12-14 months have resulted in a monumental move towards a digital economy, backed by contactless modes of payment. No longer just an urban phenomenon, digital payments have seen a rapid adoption not only in tier-1 cities, but also across tier-2, 3 and 4 towns and cities. Unlike the trend in the pre-COVID era, digital payments have seen an uptake, irrespective of age brackets.

The dependency on digital payments in the new normal has found its way, not only in e-commerce, malls, and bigger supermarkets, but also in the neighbourhood kirana stores. During the lockdown, it was observed that there was a resurgence of customer demand in nearby retail kirana or grocery stores across India. As billions were restricted to their homes due to safety concerns and e-commerce struggled to meet the sudden surge in demand, customers turned to their trusted kirana stores for essential goods and services. This change in customer behaviour encouraged smaller store owners and local marts to adopt trusted digital payment methods, most popular option being the QR code.

What is a QR code?

QR or Quick Response Code is a type of bar code that was designed in 1994 by Masahiro Hara from Denso Wave, a Japanese company[1]. While originally QR codes were built to store product and inventory related data, the same evolved to emerge as a payment option across numerous countries. For India, QR code has been one of the key players driving the rise in adoption of digital payments, for the past few years. From Digital India in 2015, demonetisation in 2016, rising usage of mobile wallets and UPI, and now, the pandemic, there have been many drivers for the adoption of digital payments. However, QR code remains to be the most popular one.

QR code has a range of benefits and hence, saw fast adoption across economies across the world, including the APAC region. Some of the benefits of QR code include: –

  • Eliminates hassles of cash payments such as availability of change, wear & tear of cash notes, et al.
  • Easy to set-up with minimal hardware investment
  • A transparent and secure mode of payment
  • Simple and easy to use, thereby ensuring customer delight and convenience
  • Eliminates the hassle of rounding­-off prices while initiating transactions
  • Empowers merchants with the flexibility of different delivery options including home delivery by allowing instant payments
  • No transaction charges on UPI payments via QR code

While demonetisation led the first wave of QR adoption, it was the Covid-19 pandemic that further accelerated the adoption of QR based payments in offline retail in the country. It won’t be wrong to say that digital payments have become the proverbial need of the hour. Moreover, the use of QR code is expected to digitise small businesses, bringing retail merchants into the fintech ecosystem.

Lead the change with BharatPe’s QR Code 

BharatPe is a merchant-focused payments platform that offers merchants a single QR to accept UPI payments across a range of apps, at zero charges. We were the first to launch an interoperable UPI QR, a revolutionising product that was built keeping the merchants at the core. With BharatPe, merchants can sign-up and instantly start receiving payments in their bank account.

That is not all, based on the payments flowing via UPI QR, merchants can also avail business loans at competitive interest rates. These loans are collateral free and can be applied on the BharatPe App.

Currently, BharatPe has a network of over 6 million merchants across 100+ cities. We continue to remain committed to build India’s biggest B2B financial services companies that will serve as a one-stop destination for all merchants of India.

Interested in learning how BharatPe can help your business needs? To join our strong network of merchants and explore our products, click here – https://bharatpe.com/business, or simply download the mobile app in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store now.

[1] Denso Wave website



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