Capitalising on consumer behaviour changes prompted by the pandemic, eftpos is set to publicly roll out its new Quick Response (QR) payments platform by December this year, having secured the backing of major banks, fintechs and retailers.
eftpos shareholders The Commonwealth Bank (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB), Coles and Woolworths, as well as fintechs Azupay, Merchant Warrior and Beem It are endorsing the new platform (and QR payments more broadly), with consumers, the group notes, opting for simpler checkout experiences.
The platform, known as eQR, will use QR code technology – a type of matrix barcode containing a unique website (or app) identifier – to enable consumers to make payments using their smartphones. The first stage of the eQR build was completed by eftpos in July 2021.
Following a trial currently ongoing with selected Australian merchants, eftpos has announced that QR payments will be made available as a viable consumer option for online, mobile or in-store transactions by this Christmas.
eftpos chief executive Stephen Benton said he anticipates strong consumer uptake, with Australians having grown familiar with QR code technology through regular Covid-19 location check-ins.
“We expect eQR will quickly become the QR equivalent of eftpos Tap& Pay on debit cards,” Benton said.
For banking majors CBA and NAB, QR code technologies mean that mobile payments can be facilitated directly through customers’ banking apps, potentially doing away with the need for separate e-wallets and NFC-backed services, such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, to facilitate Tap&Pay purchases.
According to Benton, eQR will allow for “added security, loyalty, offers and digital receipts”, meaning more data can be exchanged between merchants and consumers than allowed by the currently dominant payments mechanisms such as Tap&Pay, which was introduced in 2007.
Being able to link payments with reward offers at check-out is a major boon for retailers, with Coles general manager of financial services Paul Askew affirming eQR’s potential to “improve customer experience”.
Similarly, Woolworth Group’s Wpay managing director Paul Monnington welcomed the introduction of QR payments, highlighting “speed and ease through the checkout” as an area of increasing importance to customers.
For instant payments app Beem It (acquired by eftpos in November 2020) on the other hand, eQR will be useful for participants within the fintech’s ecosystem to “create compelling innovations” and expand the app’s features and services, chief executive Mark Britt said.
In the coming months, Beem It, Azupay and Merchant Warrior intend to onboard more Australian merchants to eQR, with a focus on traders in online entertainment, charities and fast food; these merchants will also be offered a pipeline of “value-added services” beyond payments.
Relatedly, Benton has been vocal in the past about eQR’s peripheral benefits for merchants and consumers, including options to split payments and store digital warranties.
Backing this strategy, earlier this week consultancy and research firm McKinsey released a global report on the future of payments, highlighting “value-added services” as a key growth for payments revenue for the post-Covid digital economy.
Previously, eftpos had also previously made known its ambitions to combine QR payments capabilities with its digital identity solution, rewards and loyalty, e-receipts, deposit, and withdrawal functions through an all-in-one “digital wallet” by 2022.
Just last month, the payments utility became Australia’s first private digital identity exchange operator accredited under the Federal Governments Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF).