The India payments war has just begun?

Are US Greenbacks and Chinese RMB waging the payments war in Indian Terrain?

Times of India Bengaluru Edition, 21 Feb 2017

Today morning, the newspaper in my co-working office screamed of Bharat QR on its front page. And i thought, ‘Well another player to popularize QR Code among the Indian masses. That’s good!’

Queer code? What’s that?

QR code or quick response code is a 2-dimensional matrix kind of bar code that was first used by the Japanese Automotive industry. There was a hype when it hit the awareness tipping point half a decade ago when even McDonald’s did a huge outdoor advertising in Bengaluru through an image of their classic burger but with nothing but QR code sandwiched between two halves of the bun. Scanning the code lead to a link to the McDonald’s India website.

Ad Copy

In this Bharat QR advert, the designer had made a clever play of making the Q look like a QR code (but it doesn’t comply to the QR standards). Neither are any of the QR codes in the entire advert readable.

Over the top mention of ‘Bharat’ (or India) and the use of Indian flag colors of Saffron, Green and Blue in the entire copy made me suspicious of someone trying to be MITI (More Indian Than Indian). And sure enough the copy had mention of Amex, MasterCard, Visa besides Rupay with major banks supporting this through their apps.


A few months back, Paytm and many other digital wallets had rented space on the front pages of print and rode the wave of going cashless in demonetized India. Seems like credit card authorities of the west are doing a follower than a leading strategy that Chinese investors did (through investment in Paytm and other wallet/payment companies). Are the greenbacks (dollars) set to wage a war on Renminbi (RMB) right in the Indian terrain? Looks like it. It goes to see who will win this battle. Let the discounts and cashbacks galore and Indian consumer will win (in the short term of course).

I am an Indian writer, reverse engineer, entrepreneur and marketer. Right now I am building Whenda, a simple yet smart Asset Mangement SaaS that India deserves. Hit up to know more.

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