QR Code Adoption Lags in Mexico Compared to Other Latin American Countries

Although there is an increase in the use of QR codes for mobile payments, their uptake in Mexico is slower than in other Latin American nations.

QR Code Adoption Lags in Mexico Compared to Other Latin American Countries
In Mexico, the use of QR codes for financial transactions is still in its infancy. Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

A third of banking users in Latin America made a payment or purchase with their cell phone, according to a World Bank survey. With the rise of this technology, Mexico has an opportunity to grow QR payments.

In September 2019, the Bank of Mexico launched CoDi hand in hand with banks; since then, 6.5 million transactions have been registered. Compared to other regions, such as Brazil, where more than 110 million people have adopted Pix, the growth of this payment method has been slow.

But, according to experts, for CoDi to continue to grow in Mexico, it has to offer users additional value to what it already does and must be massified. Also, it must make sure that the QR components follow a standard that makes it easy for other players to connect them and make a lot of them.

"If you compare the standard of the code or what Mercado Pago's QR code means versus Codi's, they are different." In places like Asia or Brazil, it is unified; there is a single key that follows the same rules and that allows generalization, but there is also a market condition that must have homologation," said Daniel Hernandez, BPC's business development director, and country manager in Mexico, in an interview.

A use case of compatible codes is what is happening in Argentina, where the use of QR payments has also become widespread thanks to players such as Mercado Pago. Bitso, a platform for cryptocurrencies, just added QR code payments to its app so customers can quickly pay with cryptocurrencies.

For QR payments, not just CODi, to become more common, they need to be accepted in places like restaurants and public transportation. In addition, another audit myth must be broken, since in Mexico, according to Inegi, 56% of people are working informally.

What are QR payments?

Quick Response (QR) codes are a type of two-dimensional barcode that may be read by a camera on a smartphone or other mobile device. Using a smartphone to scan a QR code and then verifying the payment with the phone's payment software or by entering a PIN or other authentication method is how most QR payments are made.

When purchasing from a street vendor or a small store, for instance, using a QR payment system can be easier than using cash or a credit card. QR payments are advantageous for businesses for several reasons, including the elimination of the need to handle cash and the potential reduction of transaction fees.