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Facebook Messenger QR Codes Link Up with MasterCard

Posted on March 18th, 2018 by

Mastercard is one of the largest credit card companies in the world and has announced that it will launch a Masterpass QR bot on Facebook Messenger in Nigeria, allowing the businesses in that country to set up digital money accounts to accept payments via QR codes. Masterpass QR will allow customers to accept or make purchases using their cell phones without needing cash or a physical credit card. To accomplish this initiative in Nigeria, Mastercard has partnered with Ecobank and Zenith Bank. “Every business owner is looking for ways to increase sales and draw new customers into their stores. By offering QR-based digital payments, smaller retailers can achieve these goals and create greater customer stickiness with little to no investment beyond the phone they already have,” said Jorn Lambert, executive vice president, Digital Channels and Regions, Mastercard. Masterpass QR opens up new channels of commerce for Nigeria’s businesses and enables them to create auditable transaction records, likely opening doors to other financial products such as loans to drive added growth.

For those interested in using this process, they just need to send a request to the Facebook bot to enable QR payments, receive approval from the bank, and set up an account. Once this is set up, business owners can begin accepting digital payments. Owners can print and display their specific QR code in their store enabling payments to be made by customers simply by scanning the code with their smartphone. Customers will also be able to pull up a QR code on their smartphone that can be scanned by the business. Once the QR code has been scanned, the online payment will be processed through the Mastercard network using M/Chip technology and the secure EMV infrastructure that retailers already have in place. The QR codes to be scanned will be governed under a common set of universal standards. Indeed, Mastercard worked with EMVCo to create standards designed to ensure consistency in the QR codes generated and captured on a consumer’s smartphone.

This latest development in payments via QR code has Mastercard enthusiastic as the company looks to advance the technology and expand its usage globally. “Today’s news builds on the momentum of our QR work in India and Africa,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of global enterprise risk and security for MasterCard. “We look forward to the adoption of the EMVCo global QR standards. In the meantime, we’ll continue to work with our customers and partners to make every device a secure way to pay and be paid.” Bhalla continued.

Currently, Mastercard is one of the four major credit card networks in the United States along with Visa, American Express, and Discover, and Mastercard and Visa have significant advantage in terms of acceptance worldwide. Mastercard had just under 32% of the number of cards in circulation at the end of 2016, and is said to have 25% of the total U.S. market share of purchase volume in 2017. With Mastercard and EMVCo pushing for adoption of their standards and payments technology on a global scale, it seems entirely possible that this sort of payment ability will soon may make its way to the United States. We patiently (and excitedly) await its arrival!

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Tech Medicine - Edible QR Codes

Posted on March 12th, 2018 by

Who’s hungry…for a QR Code? It’s been very intriguing to read about the newest technological advancement in medicine – edible QR Codes. Though it will not satisfy your hunger, the drugs via edible QR Codes will deliver necessary and tailored drug amounts to the individual eating the code. A recent study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, along with colleagues from Abo Akademi University in Finland, have developed a white edible material with which they have successfully printed a QR Code consisting of a drug. Now, some of you may be envisioning something like Willy Wonka’s everlasting gobstopper machine from the 1971 classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, cranking out little bits of medicine on paper. But, in fact, the researchers actually adapted inkjet printing technology to print the edible QR Codes that contain a dose of medicine adjusted for the particular needs of the patient.

Wow. It’s one thing to just be able to print edible medicine. It’s an even further step to be able to print medicine as a QR Code. The technology is said to be very promising, because the medical drug can be dosed exactly the way patients need it to be. The perfect amount of one or more drugs can be incorporated into a single printed QR Code, thereby reducing the number of different pills a patient needs to take separately. This also eliminates the problem of a dose being rounded up or down to the nearest amount that is put in the typical pill. Edible QR Codes gives healthcare professionals an opportunity to tailor the medication specifically to the patient taking it. This new way to administer drugs enables doctors and patients alike to have a better understanding of the drugs ingested – the shape of the QR Code enables the storage of data about the drug in the drug itself, where a simple scan can bring up all pertinent information about the drug.

While the information and data provided by an edible QR Code will prove highly beneficial, there are some issues that will need to be addressed. First, the patients will need to have the ability to scan the QR Code. Luckily, most everyone today has a smart phone that is capable of reading such codes. Additionally, there is concern that the medicinal QR Codes may fade over time. While further research on light, temperature, and humidity resistance will need to take place, preliminary testing showed that printed codes exposed to humidity were still readable, as long as the codes were kept flat when printed and were not creased or wrinkled prior to scanning.

“Simply doing a quick scan, you can get all the information about the pharmaceutical product. In that sense it can potentially reduce cases of wrong medication and fake medicine,” said Natalja Genina, an assistant professor at the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Copenhagen. It is possible that this study could one day allow a regular printer to be able to apply the medical drug in the pattern of a QR code, while the edible material is produced in advance to allow on-demand production of medical drug near end-users.

“If we are successful with applying this production method to relatively simple printers, then it can enable the innovative production of personalized medicine and rethinking of the whole supply chain,” says professor Jukka Rantanen from the Department of Pharmacy. Fascinating development.

 

Resources:
https://www.techweez.com/2018/02/12/edible-qr-codes-medicine/
https://newatlas.com/edible-qr-code-medicine/53300/
https://futurism.com/future-medicine-eating-qr-code/
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180202112641.htm
https://www.rdmag.com/article/2018/02/printable-edible-qr-code-offers-promise-personalized-medicine
Image: ddnews.gov.in
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