Payment via QR Code, please! | Finances

Whenever possible, I pay for my purchases with my cell phone. Especially after the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested this type of transaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020, however, brought me another surprise: when informing that I would pay for approach (NFC) in a supermarket in the interior of Rio de Janeiro, I was surprised several times with the machine prepared for the payment via QR Code. And, when questioning, I always heard the same question: “isn’t it PicPay?”.

Payment via QR Code grows in Brazil

This behavior, however, is not that unexpected. This is what the Panorama Mobile Time / Opinion Box survey on mobile commerce shows: between March and August 2020, the percentage of people who have already made payments via QR Code has grown from 35% to 48%.

The figure even surpasses transactions by approximation, which followed the same growth. Also according to the study, 33% of respondents stated that they had already made payments with the modality, which includes both NFC and MST, a technology that was removed from the Samsung Galaxy S21 line. In March, it was 23%.

The trend is also observed by the card machine companies. To the Tecnoblog, the Network’s director, Eduardo Amorin, says that transactions with the code started to show more relevance in June last year. According to the executive, about 3.9 million transactions were approved in December alone.

“Basically, there are two factors that contributed to this growth. The first was the growth in the use of digital wallets, which are increasingly present in the daily lives of consumers ”, he explained. “The second factor – and, certainly, the most impacting – was the emergency aid offered by the federal government, via the Caixa Tem application”.

Cielo monitors perception. The company says that, in 2020, it registered 36 times more transactions with the code than in 2019. For the company, the emergency aid and Caixa Tem, which has an option to make payments with the code, contributed to make the modality more popular with Brazilians. “The period made the QR Code even better known,” they said.

For PicPay’s founder and vice president of products and technology, Anderson Chamon, in addition to the issue of emergency aid, the possibilities offered by technology “are differentials that have gained strength in the context of the pandemic”. But he notes that the isolation scenario cannot be credited as the only factor in the accelerated growth of this means of payment.

“It is worth reinforcing, however, that the use of digital wallets was already a global reality before the pandemic,” he said. “It is about building and strengthening the market, in which, more and more, the population in general – mainly the unbanked ones – understands the benefits offered by digital wallets”.

QR Code on the network's cash machine (image: Itaú)

QR Code on the network’s cash machine (image: Itaú)

How does QR code payment work?

There is not much mystery to use the modality. Basically, the user only needs a cell phone with a camera. Another requirement is the application of a bank or digital wallet with support for the feature, such as PicPay, which has offered this option since 2012.

“Payment is made by scanning the QR Code with the cell phone camera, directly from the application,” explains Chamon. “The code can be displayed on the cash register, or be displayed on the machine screen, and it can also be available for reading in the‘ Pix ’section, within our platform”.

In addition, Chamon points out that the user can still receive cashback during the transaction. This is the case of a large supermarket chain in Rio de Janeiro that, in February, offered 10% of the value back in purchases of up to R $ 200. To obtain the benefit, the consumer only had to pay for purchases via QR Code through PicPay .

Iti, Itaú’s digital wallet, is another platform that offers convenience when using technology. In the same way, just open the application and access the corresponding option. Then, just read the code with your cell phone camera to proceed with the transaction.

“This transaction can be made from Iti to Iti, with printed codes, on the machines at Rede, Cielo and GetNet, or by reading any QR Code Pix”, says the director of Iti, João Araújo. “It is worth mentioning that since the launch of Iti, we have also made available the option of receiving money via QR Code”.

The modality for transactions with the code is also available in applications from other banks and digital wallets. Among them are Ame Digital, Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Caixa Tem, Itaú and Mercado Pago. But it is worth remembering that compatibility with payment and transfer solutions and procedures can vary from service to service.

Cielo machine with QR Code (Image: Reproduction / Cielo / YouTube)

Cielo machine with QR Code (Image: Reproduction / Cielo / YouTube)

And where can I use the technology?

There are several ways to make transactions with the resource. Nubank, for example, allows the user to generate a QR Code to charge. Then, just ask the other person to read the code issued on the cell phone screen to complete the transfer with Pix.

The codes are also available in commercial establishments through card machines. According to Amorin, director of the Network, most of the devices in operation are already enabled to generate the QR Code. In addition, if it is disabled, the executive explains that the seller only needs to do a software update to enable the function.

“The transaction is very simple,” he said. “To make the payment via QR Code, it is enough that the storekeeper selects the payment option and generates the code on the equipment so that the customer can point the cell phone, capturing the code, and finalize the payment”.

To the Tecnoblog, Cielo claims that all of its machines support payment via QR Code. In addition, simplicity is also found here: “after entering the value and choosing the product on the insert card screen, the seller presses the green key and the QR Code is generated”, they state.

The company also recalls that its terminals are already ready for payments with the resource via Pix.

Pix (Image: Disclosure / Central Bank)

Pix (Image: Disclosure / Central Bank)

And Pix?

Another chain that can give even more strength to the QR Code is Pix, launched in November 2020. Among the features of the platform, for example, is Pix Cobrança, scheduled to be launched in March 2021. It is a kind of as an alternative to the traditional bank slip that uses the code to carry out transactions.

Some companies have already taken the news to their customers, such as Vivo, which started to accept Pix for payment of recharge. Claro and TIM, in turn, provided a way to pay the invoice with the QR code through the new payment platform of the Central Bank.

Anderson Chamon believes that the arrival of Pix can boost payments with the modality through PicPay. “As it has a technology very similar to the one we present on our platform, Pix will accelerate the use of the payment method by QR Code”, said the executive to the Tecnoblog.

João Araújo, from Iti, is also optimistic about the novelty. “We believe that Pix came to further boost financial inclusion and the use of digital solutions for day-to-day banking operations,” he said. “This context, in fact, adds even more value to everything that Iti has always believed about how people should relate to money: democratic, simple and accessible to everyone”.

Eduardo Amorin, from Rede, observes that Pix can not only gradually take the place of DOC and TED, but also of cash. But he recalls that, even though there is a daily growth in the use of the modality, this is still not the payment method most sought by consumers.

“The fact is that the pandemic has accelerated the search for consumers and shopkeepers for operations that do not require direct contact with machines or money”, he concludes. “And, as long as consumers have good experiences in this type of transaction, the likelihood is that the adhesion to Pix will continue to grow.”

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