Zapper exits Masterpass Interoperability

Following last week’s FNB announcement of the rollout of their QR-enabled Speedpoint terminals, some confusion as to the status of the current and future interoperability within the QR code ecosystem has arisen.

Independent mobile payments, loyalty and rewards platform, Zapper, has exited their interoperability agreement with Masterpass, Mastercard’s QR payment service, which powers FNB’s Scan to Pay. The interoperability will cease effective from 25 October 2020, following the culmination of the 90-day notice period.

“The unfortunate result is that this will affect not only FNB, but all entities reliant on Masterpass as the ‘base’ for their payment apps and QR acceptance. Post the decision to terminate our interoperability with Masterpass, we have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, reaching out to all necessary parties, to mitigate any adverse effects,” explains Brett White, CEO of Zapper. “Zapper is committed to broadening QR payment adoption within South Africa, in partnership with other QR affiliated providers; but it must be done in a sustainable way that safeguards user experience.”

As an open platform, Zapper is already interoperable with many other domestic QR code payment services. This means Zapper users can scan and pay non-Zapper QR codes from other providers, and third-party Zapper-integrated apps can scan and pay Zapper QR codes in the market.

“The interoperability between Zapper and Masterpass unfortunately introduced some unintended consequences, primarily the introduction of friction into our payment experience and disintermediation from the market,” White says.

“In our experience, for interoperability to be successful, the QR code presented needs to allow payment apps to scan and pay as if they were scanning their own code, to ensure a consistent experience across the network. QR providers need to have a direct relationship with merchants and partners. When proxies are introduced, and QR providers are kept at arm’s length, you create an unsustainable business environment,” explains White.

“The Zapper team continues to expand our partnership network with payment gateways and processors, bill aggregators, parking operators, fintechs and banks, and to promote broader adoption of QR payment in innovative ways and new environments.”