Turns out, there are efforts to merge BharatQR and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).  “There are some discussions happening, but there is no decision that has taken place. But there are some efforts in that direction,” Dilip Asbe, COO, National Payments Corporation of India said.

To refresh, BharatQR is an inter-operable QR code network for payments which includes card networks Visa, MasterCard, RuPay and American Express.

Earlier this month, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) launched the UPI on POS machines. The POS machines would generate a one-time dynamic QR code which when scanned will automatically show relevant transaction details on the customer’s payment app for authorizing payment transfer.

However, a MediaNama reader pointed out that the NPCI could have just waited for BharatQR to start functioning to include dynamic QR codes.

Static and dynamic QR codes 

Right now, the UPI offers both static and dynamic QR codes while BharatQR is only static. In static QR codes, users will have to enter the amount at check out for the transaction to complete. While a dynamic QR code will have checkout details. In such a scenario, static QR codes from BharatQR is a redundancy for merchants who will have to place a QR code for UPI as well. 

Asbe also said that customers tend to make more mistakes in static QRs. “The problem is when a customer starts entering the amounts, you start getting errors… We want to reduce the number of errors. We are trying to push the dynamic QR most of the times. But hopefully, we will be able to merge the two,” he said.

Card networks can become part of UPI  

Note that the draft paper for the UPI mentions that card numbers can be used as an identifier. It mentions a specific example for RuPay:

RuPay card number, resolved directly by NPCI, is represented as card-no@rupay.npci (e.g. 1234123412341234@rupay.npci)

The draft paper also says that the UPI can allow other regulated providers to become a payment system provider. Technically, card networks such as Visa, MasterCard and RuPay are regulated entities by the Reserve Bank of India.

Wallets are still not allowed

Meanwhile, wallets such as Paytm and MobiKwik, which pioneered QR code payments in India, are still not allowed to be part of the UPI or BharatQR. Remember that banks wanted to keep wallets out to get an advantage over them. Asbe, however, pointed out the decision of allowing wallets to be part of the UPI will still be after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) finalizes the guidelines. “There is a draft policy document from the RBI so I’m sure once the things are discussed things will be formed,” Asbe added.