Mastercard Masterpass QR Launches in India

November 18, 2016         By: Steven Anderson

The cash ban on in India has, by some reports, proven a disaster. Chaos is on the rise in some sectors as the poor—who were supposed to be helped by this move—find it increasingly difficult to get the cash needed to survive.

Mobile payments systems are said to be providing a bit of help to the largely unbanked populace, and one more option has recently stepped onto the field to deliver some new value: Mastercard’s Masterpass QR system.

Backed up by Ratnakar Bank and usable on both smartphones and regular feature phones, the system uses quick response (QR) codes to connect devices to Mastercard’s OnGo digital wallet system.

With all these elements in place, shoppers can effectively carry out a wide slate of transactions, ranging from normal purchases to service options like rickshaw and taxi fares.

Porush Singh, Mastercard’s south Asia division president, called the new platform a means to “…limit the flow of cash in the economy and take decisive steps toward realizing the dream of Digital India.”

Given what’s been going on over the last few days since the cash ban kicked in and took 500 and 1000 rupee notes with it—at least, on a graduated basis—it’s not surprising to see more mobile alternatives step in to offer services.

After all, those with a sheaf of bills under their beds or whatnot could easily translate these bills into Mastercard or PayTM or any of the other mobile options in the country.

It would leave these larger corporations with large quantities of bills, but it’s a safe bet they would have pull sufficient to get them changed even after any deadlines announced to the general public.

Mastercard may have just struck at a hot iron here, and might well find more interested users unable to exchange currency and unwilling to lose the value it represents.With problems in the region ongoing, there may well be not only more mobile wallet users in the near future, but also more mobile wallet options stepping in to take advantage of the changes in the region.