News Roundup: Visa, Mastercard Standardize QR Code

In a roundup of this week’s news, major card brands are continuing their expansion of digital payments acceptance, targeting cash usage at small and micro businesses and at festivals. And eMarketer ventures a prediction about the cross-border e-commerce shopping habits of German consumers.

Mastercard, UnionPay and Visa are introducing a standardized QR code in Thailand. The standardization will enable merchants to offer just one code to accept payments through one of the three networks.

QR codes are a valuable tool for expanding electronic payment acceptance in areas where small and micro merchants benefit from their low infrastructure costs. The standards are intended to be interoperable globally, the companies said.

The Thai government has rolled out a national e-payment initiative aimed at strengthening the country’s electronic payments infrastructure. Implementation of the standardized code contributes to expansion of electronic data capture under that initiative.

“Visa is proud to have contributed to the development of Standardized QR Code in Thailand as we believe it has the potential to significantly accelerate the growth of electronic payments acceptance in the country. This is especially true for consumers as well as small merchants, as it lowers cost and is easy to implement, eliminating the need for traditional POS hardware,” Mr. Suripong Tantiyanon, Visa Country Manager, Thailand, said in a press release.

According to a report in Finextra, Visa will also be expanding cashless payments at Boardmasters, a surf and music festival in Cornwall, England, through a partnership with Square. Last year, the report said, only 5% of purchases at the event were made with cards or mobile phones. This year, Square and Visa plan to enable card acceptance across the entire event. As part of its sponsorship of the event, Visa will enable wi-fi and provide mobile POS terminals to vendors throughout the festival.

Alipay and First Data have expanded their relationship. First Data is enabling Alipay as a payment solution for its North American business clients, starting with those that use its Clover platform.

First Data said that it would route the Alipay transactions through Acculynk, a debit routing technology company it acquired in March, which would tokenize the Alipay QR code.

“With the help of Acculynk’s gateway technology, First Data will be able to quickly implement Alipay for its large client base, so businesses can start accepting Alipay transactions in a seamless manner,” Ashish Bahl, founder and CEO of Acculynk, said in a press release. “Through its role as the world’s largest merchant acquirer, First Data will be the first to offer Alipay at the point-of-sale in a scalable manner for North America businesses.”

Regtech company PerformLine announced expansion of its Merchant Monitoring e-commerce merchant oversight solution. The platform now includes merchant onboarding, persistent monitoring, and transaction laundering capabilities.

“We spent a lot of time collecting data from customers, prospects, partners and industry leaders to learn what they really wanted to see in a monitoring platform for merchants; and then we acted on it,” said Alex Baydin, CEO of PerformLine, in a press release. “PerformLine now provides a centralized point of access, control and reporting for all phases of the merchant management lifecycle, to compliment an overall approach to compliance monitoring.”

eMarketer says that cross-border online shopping among German consumers is rising. The company predicts that more than a third of shoppers who buy something online this year will purchase products from outside Germany. The company also predicts that the number of Germans who buy products cross-border will grow by 13.6% to just under 18 million.

eMarketer credits a desire for more products at lower prices for the double-digit growth, but said that hesitation about the security of online payments is making the growth slower than it could be.