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Interoperability is an industry buzzword gaining a lot of popularity in our current ecosystem – especially when it comes to QR codes. The ability to standardize a QR-based payments system offers benefit to both sides of the equation, enabling not only a more seamless experience for the customer but a simplified execution for the merchant.

The need for QR interoperability has prompted such unified efforts as a payments-based global initiative for EMVCo and a megabank partnership in Japan – and these are just to name a few.

Most recently, however, digital wallet startup Alipay has partnered with six prominent mobile wallets across Europe to collaborate on QR. The goal? A unified QR code-based digital payment system targeting travelers in both Europe and China, according to Finextra.

The first initiative of its kind in Europe, this collaboration will unify more than 5 million users in total (from the participating networks of the partnering companies), as well as ~190,000 merchants in Europe. 

“We feel honored to help promote a smart lifestyle and digital experiences in Europe, while continuing to connect more merchants with more Chinese tourists,” said Ant Financial (Alipay’s parent company) Chairman and CEO Eric Jing via the same article. “We believe mobile payment is a universal language that can help connect people just as football does.”

Upon completion, the user base of the six participating parties (Bluecode, ePassi, momo pocket, Pagaqui, Pivo, Vipps and Alipay) will be able to make QR-based payments to local merchants, via their home apps, in 10 European countries. Also benefiting from the partnership are those merchants already accepting mobile payments from these six apps. They will now have the ability to easily accept payments initiated by customers from other countries covered by the collaboration. And finally, Alipay’s Chinese user base will also be able to make payments to merchants that accept these participating wallets, according to the article.

Alipay will be the one to provide the compatible QR code format, while ePassi and Bluecode will provide technical services to the participating wallets – simplifying the integration process.