Standardising QR code payments in Europe

QR codes can be a powerful tool for the ongoing digital transformation of the European payments landscape. They have the potential to accelerate the adoption and use of mobile payments as they represent a versatile touchpoint between merchants and consumers, as well as enable innovative ‘new retail’ and mobile lifestyle use cases seamlessly connecting in store and online experiences.

They also represent an opportunity for financial institutions to expand customer value by facilitating QR code payments directly from their mobile banking apps, with integrated transaction authentication and value-added services. This report explores the economic benefits of standardising QR code payments in Europe.

A single, open European standard for QR code payments can deliver substantial economic benefits to merchants, consumers, and the society as a whole.

This is because:

The economic benefits from a common, open European standard for QR code payments have the potential to reduce the investment needed to accept QR code payments and the cost of accepting and making payments overall. Merchants would face lower costs, and consumers would face lower prices. At the lower end, with a European QR code standard in place, we estimate the total annual cost savings to be up to €3bn for merchants and €2bn for consumers. If the take-up levels reached the higher end of market observers’ estimates, these savings could be as high as €7bn and €5bn for merchants and consumers respectively. The main sources of these benefits are:

QR code payments are accessible to everyone with a smartphone, which are now ubiquitous in Europe. This means QR code payments can help support financial inclusion for both consumers and merchants by providing easier access to modern electronic payments.

For further information, please contact Antti Lemberg, Head of Financial Services.

The study is commissioned by Ant Group.