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December 17, 2020

Authenticate payments faster with QR codes

Albert Malikov

Though QR codes have been around since the 1990s, they’re making a comeback in a big way in the UK. This is primarily due to two factors. First, nearly all iOS and Android smartphones now natively read QR codes without requiring a third-party app. Second, social distancing measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic have created an acute demand for contactless means of exchange. 

Across the UK and Europe, a recent study showed that 80% of consumers had scanned a QR code at least once, while 40% had done so in the last week alone. What’s more, over half of all respondents said they expect to use QR codes for payments in the near future. Payment instruments like iDEAL which allow consumers to both pay by scanning a QR code and generate their own code to receive a payment, make this all even easier. With Plaid, you too can now use QR codes to simplify consumers’ financial lives. 

Streamlining the desktop experience
When making a bank payment in the UK, a user becomes subject to SCA safeguards. On desktop, this can include cumbersome verification measures such as authenticating on a bank-issued, physical PIN device.

This is where QR code authentication comes into play. By seamlessly handing off a payment session from desktop to mobile via a QR code, friction is removed from the Plaid account linking desktop experience, enabling your users to authenticate—and thus make payments—securely and quickly. As a result, the user goes through three fewer steps, so they can spend more time engaging with the application itself. This means three fewer steps for the typical user, so they can spend more time engaging with the application itself.  

QR code authentication

A better user experience
A number of Plaid customers are already using QR code authentication, such as bookkeeping platform Receipt Bank. Founded in 2010 out of frustration for forgotten expenses, misplaced receipts, and weekends spent sorting through paperwork, this pre-accounting tool enables users to easily track business expenses and share them with their accountant. 

“Managing business finances are difficult enough, and SMB owners don’t need the hassle of clunky user experiences weighing them down. Plaid's QR code flow provides smoother, faster web payments for easier invoice management for our customers.”

Mustafa Roomi, Head of Product, User Engagement at Receipt Bank

Getting started
QR code authentication is now available to all Plaid customers in the UK. To learn more, reach out to your Growth Account Manager or check out our docs here. If you’re new to Plaid, please contact our Sales team to get access today.