The Central Bank of Egypt has received 13 applications for QR code licenses from telecom companies and banks, according to a report in Menabytes.

This follows the announcement earlier this year that the bank planned to support QR codes as a way to increase financial inclusion in the country, by issuing standards for providers to use when enabling the codes.

More than 60% of adults in Egypt are unbanked, the Menabytes article said. QR codes are often viewed as a way to increase financial inclusion in regions with heavy cash usage that do not have established electronic payments infrastructure, because of their relative low cost and ease of implementation.

“With 100 million people – most of whom have no access to electronic payments – in Egypt, less than 3% of payments are currently electronic. QR codes are the proven method to bring cash users in developing markets into the payment system,” Todd Ablowitz, CEO of Infinicept told PaymentFacilitator.

Merchants display the codes at their locations, and consumers scan them with payment apps on their mobile phones.

The expanded use of QR codes in areas such as Asia and Africa represents potential opportunity for some payment facilitators. As PaymentFacilitator has previously noted, many features that characterize the PF model – including innovative approaches, robust customer support and local connections – can help broaden distribution of QR code solutions in underserved areas.

“QR Codes are on the way to eradicating hardware, which dramatically lowers the cost for small and micro merchants to begin accepting payments. PFs need to understand how they work so the PF can create the integrated, single touchpoint experience they are capable of. In developing markets, I think QR is extremely exciting,” Ablowitz said.

Obtaining a license from Egypt’s central bank enables providers to offer payments solutions to merchants and consumers using the established standards, which allow the codes to be accepted across systems.

According to Menabytes, the bank is asking license applicants to develop plans to drive adoption among merchants and consumers.

QR codes are already in use among street vendors in Egypt, the article said.