KATHMANDU, March 3: Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has barred the Quick Response (QR) code payment service providers from charging a fee from the customers under any headings.
Enforcing the Nepal QR Code Standardization Framework and Guidelines on Monday, NRB has maintained the provision. The central bank has come up with guidelines with the aim to regulate the growing number of QR code platforms inside the country.
The rule has provided freedom for the acquirers, payment service operators (PSOs) and financial institutions to take service charge from the merchants in the form of the merchant discount rate (MDR). While the acquirers have to fix the rate based on a market-determined value, the central bank holds the power to intervene to regularize and stabilize the MDR, reads the guidelines.
Following the impact of COVID-19, Nepal is shifting gears from cash to digital mode as it provides convenience to the consumers and traders along with ensuring their health safety. As a result, many licensed PSOs and payment service providers (PSPs) have started offering the QR code system for retail transactions.
According to the NRB, as of now, nine PSOs have received the license to operate the QR code service. Among them, Fonepay, Smart QR and First Pay are providing their services at present. Similarly, 18 PSPs and mobile wallet platforms that include IME Pay, eSewa Fonepay, CG Pay, Khalti, Prabhu Pay and Smart Card Nepal, among others, offer the QR code services.
The guidelines have provisions for making all transactions initiating on QR follow the Fraud and Risk management protocol similar to other legit payment modes. The issuer and App provider must build velocity checks at interface level to mitigate unwanted transactions or fraud.
In case of any major cyber-attack or fraud in the system, the stakeholders are requested to notify NRB as soon as possible.