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Andhra Pradesh power companies to introduce BharatQR payments

The Eastern Power Distribution Company of A.P. Ltd. (EPDCL) and the Southern Power Distribution Corporation of A.P. Ltd. (SPDCL) in Andhra Pradesh are the first power distribution companies to accept payments through BharatQR. Customers can now use their smartphones to make payments to pay their electricity bills via BharatQR.

They will have to log in to their bank’s app and scan the QR code on their bill which will allow them to make the payments.

The enablement of QR code was due to a partnership with payment company Visa and the Andhra Pradesh government. As part of the deal, the state government is looking to abolishing surcharge levied to consumers on digital payments, Nara Lokesh, minister for IT and Rural Development said.

Meanwhile, last month, Delhi Metro integrated BharatQR in its ticket counters, where customers can recharge their smart cards and tokens by simply scanning a QR code displayed.

Lack of clarity on BharatQR

Note that BharatQR, which was launched with much fanfare in February, is facing delays as banks are not ready to deploy these codes, as indicated by this Economic Times report. The publication added that banks are stuck in obtaining certifications from card networks and that most banks are RuPay qualified on the acceptance business, Visa and Mastercard are still remaining.

Things are further complicated for BharatQR as the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) said that it is trying to merge BharatQR and QR codes generated by 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 of the NPCI said in April.

Last year, the Reserve Bank of India proposed differentiated MDR between acquiring infrastructure involving physical terminals (POS machines, mPOS etc) and digital acceptance infrastructure models (such as QR codes). Payments through QR codes are cheaper for merchants. MDR is an interbank exchange fee merchants have to pay for enabling card payments.

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