The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has launched the Kenya Quick Response Code Standard 2023 (KE-QR Code Standard 2023), a new system aimed at promoting mobile payments and electronic transactions in the country.

The initiative seeks to enable interoperability between various financial institutions in the country by allowing customers to make payments using a QR code, eliminating the need for different payment channels for different vendors. The service will also enable other players, such as Airtel Money and T-Kash, to use Safaricom's M-PESA PayBill and till numbers.

Currently, over 600,000 businesses have till/PayBill numbers for payments in Kenya.

Developed in collaboration with payment service providers, banks, and card schemes, the KE-QR Code Standard 2023 will provide customers with a more secure and direct digital payment option. Merchants will also benefit from the new system as they will no longer need to install multiple PayBill or till number systems for their businesses.

The new system is expected to encourage more merchants to implement QR codes for payments, given the popularity of PayBill for mobile money wallets and POS machines for card payments. The new system will be rolled out in a phased approach as players align their operations to the new requirements.

It is hoped that the KE-QR Code Standard 2023 will promote the use of mobile payments and electronic transactions, which have become increasingly popular in Kenya in recent years.