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Banks see opportunity in Paytm implosion, look to corner QR code, sound box business

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Seeing an opportunity in the pickle Paytm Payments Bank (PPBL) finds itself in following action by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), some banks are moving in to corner a larger share of the QR code and sound box business.

Recently,  frequently asked questions (FAQs) released by the central bank  on the PPBL issue had clarified that in order to continue receiving payments, merchants need to obtain fresh QR codes linked to an account with a different bank or wallet before March 15, 2024.

On January 31, the RBI imposed major business restrictions on PPBL, including a bar on accepting fresh deposits and doing credit transactions after February 29. On February 16, it extended the deadline to March 15.

A senior Bank of India (BoI) official told Moneycontrol that the lender has told all branches to work on greater penetration of its QR codes after the Paytm crisis.

“We have asked all our branches to increase the penetration of QR codes across India,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Also, BoI has hired an agency to advise the bank on increasing the penetration of sound boxes, the official said. He, however, did not mention the agency’s name. Per BoI’s December quarter investor presentation, the bank has 1.8 crore UPI users.

Similarly, YES bank has started promoting its UPI application and QR codes after the PPBL crisis.

“We have launched Yes Pay Next recently, and the initial response has been encouraging enough for us to continue investment in this app, and service the UPI needs of customers,” Naveen Chaluvadi, Chief Digital Officer, Yes Bank told Moneycontrol.

Chaluvadi said that of late, the bank has seen a surge of enquiries regarding QR codes at its branches.

“However, we shall offer the merchant solution only where we believe it will help us service a wider range of merchant needs, and not just remain as a one-point solution provider to the merchant,” he explained.

He added that YES Bank has been issuing QR codes in the market through aggregators like Phonepe, Bharatpe, and others, and has been a leading player in this space.

An email sent to Bank of India remained unanswered.