Australian payments player Eftpos has announced completing the build of its new QR code payments infrastructure.
The first stage of the QR infrastructure was built in early July, CEO Stephen Benton said, and is described as being designed to provide secure and enhanced consumer purchasing and engagement experiences through loyalty, offers, receipts, and added security.
Benton said testing of the new QR code infrastructure is underway and end-to-end testing would be completed when the first merchant goes live in August. Eftpos said the first commercial trials would be announced in the coming weeks.
See also: Eftpos uses Beem It acquisition to build out QR payment system
"There had been considerable demand to work on various QR solutions with several merchants across different business categories including entertainment, charities, and quick services restaurants, in addition to a number of fintech partners, gateways, banks, and digital wallet providers," Benton said.
"It's exciting to see the build come to life at such pace and experiencing demand beyond initial expectations. It means we can start to bring exciting new commercial applications to market sooner and aim to provide Australians with better, consistent, data-rich, digital payments experiences no matter where they choose to shop -- online, on their mobile or at the checkout."
Although payments sector expert Lance Blockley highlighted to a Parliamentary committee on Monday that QR codes are not overly appropriate in the Australian context, where the nation has been used as the poster child for "tap and go" payments, Eftpos is hoping familiarity with QR codes through COVID safe practices the past year would help uptake.
It would also argue the use of QR codes is not a replacement for NFC-based payments, noting limitations with the tech, such as for use with internet shopping.
"QR is not a replacement for NFC at point of sale. They are complementary technologies that serve different purposes," Eftpos told ZDNet.
"QR payments offer something quite different beyond payments, and not just at point of sale.
"QR brings a whole lot of new, rich digital experiences for consumers and merchants, across mobile, online and point of sale platforms."
The CEO said the infrastructure itself is focused on building out new experiences beyond payments, including loyalty, redemption, splitting payments, and storing digital warranties and digital receipts.
"There is no doubt that QR codes are now familiar to Australian retailers and consumers because of COVID. We can begin to use that experience and knowledge in new ways that create value through end to end digital wallet payment experiences that are designed here, especially for the local Australian market," Benton added.
While Eftpos wholly-owned company Beem It will be the first integrated QR wallet, it said it would remain wallet and partner agnostic.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it would continue its clampdown on illegal marketing in the financial services sector, handing out formal warnings to five companies for breaches of spam and telemarketing laws.
The ACMA received 791 complaints about telemarketing from financial service companies in the last three months, and 3,381 in the 2020-21 financial year.
The regulator issued a warning to Chase Edwards and its call centre Martin & Hunt, which was responsible for two breaches of the Do Not Call Register Act, due to calls offering free financial assessments made without consent to consumers on the Do Not Call register. National Advice Service also made two calls to numbers on the register without consent, offering up financial advisors and superannuation advice.
Businesses must not make calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Register or send e-marketing such as email and SMS without consent. Where they have consent, ACMA dictates they must be able to prove it with accurate and clear records.
Lastminuteloan.com.au were responsible for two breaches of the Spam Act 2003 for text messages without consent, notifying recipients that they had received approval for a loan of $200; while Credit24 sent a message advertising lines of credit to a person who had previously attempted to unsubscribe.
The ACMA said over the past 18 months, businesses have paid just shy of AU$2.5 million in infringement notices for breaking spam and telemarketing laws. The ACMA has also accepted 11 court-enforceable undertakings and issued 13 formal warnings to businesses in the same period.
It also said the financial services sector is subject to more complaints about spam and telemarketing than any other industry.