By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Mar. 3: Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has issued Nepal QR Standardisation Framework and Guidelines. The Payment System Department under NRB has issued criteria and guidelines to make the QR code systematic and secure, which has recently become the major means of electronic payment. With improved digital infrastructure like internet and a growing number of smart phone users, the adoption of QR-based payments is poised to grow. Meanwhile, the present pandemic situation causing ‘fear of proximity’ and ‘need for distance’, drives the need for low-cost contact-less payment mode, and QR codes are the best suited to address this challenge. The standardisation framework and guidelines include eligibility of scheme/network for QR payment, eligibility for acquiring and issuing, responsibilities of acquirer and issuing entity, fee and charges, risk and compliance and settlement mechanism. Also included in the guidelines are customer service, grievance handling and dispute management, information security programme, QR logo and branding. NRB has stated that the criteria have focused on security along with interconnection, on widespread use and expansion of QR codes. “No charge shall be levied on the customer for QR code-initiated transactions unless exclusively allowed by NRB. Acquirers are strictly advised to make sure that the merchants do not recover full/part of MDR (Merchant Discount Rate) from the end customer,” reads the guidelines. Charges may be levied on merchants in the form of an MDR. Financial institutions shall ensure that the lowest possible MDR rates prevail in order to encourage faster and widespread adoption of QR codes in Nepal, it said. All transactions initiating on QR must follow the fraud and risk management protocol similar to other legal payment modes, it said. The issuer and App provider must build velocity checks at interface level to mitigate unwanted transactions or fraud. The issuers and App providers could introduce velocity and value limits in the system to mitigate frauds. All participants should make earnest efforts to drive consumer education and awareness campaigns for QR payment adoption. NRB, in consultation with concerned stakeholders, will prepare and implement the branding guidelines on usage and display of QR logo and visibility on the App. NRB has been expanding the payment through QR code scan lately. NRB Governor Maha Prasad Adhikari and other officials have been expanding the QR code nationwide, along with the commercial banks.