How to use QRC for Safe, Contactless Payments

October 23, 2020

The Quick Response Code (QRC) has recently made a resurgence due to the recent global pandemic. In order to keep customers and staff safe, businesses are opting to use contactless payments—a sure way to limit potential exposure and offer a convenient method of processing transactions. 

Originated in 1994, the QRC was initially created for the automotive industry in Japan with the purpose to easily track vehicles during manufacturing, but due to its novelty and readability, its popularity skyrocketed and was adopted by a variety of industries to incorporate product tracking, document management, and even B2C marketing, to name a few. Although interest in the QRC in the U.S. waned in favor of other seemingly more dynamic technologies over the past few years, heightened sensitivities around germ transmission and distancing due to COVID-19 has reignited the need for contact-free mobile engagement. In fact, from a commerce perspective, QRC is rapidly becoming a necessity for businesses to quickly and safely process payments by their customers.  

How does it work?

While similar to linear barcodes in some respects, QRCs are unique in that they can be scanned from both physical objects and digital screens, something traditional barcodes cannot achieve. In addition, technology has become significantly more advanced, allowing for any smartphone to easily access the information provided by the code, whether it be a restaurant menu, product information on an item, or to make a payment. By simply using the camera on their smartphones, customers can quickly and easily access the contents of the QRC and take the desired action.

How to incorporate QRC into your business

Integrating QRC payments is incredibly beneficial for most merchants, as it enhances engagement with consumers and provides another frictionless method for them to complete transactions. Setting up your business to allow for contact-free payments is quite easy. Follow the steps below, and you’ll be on your way to running a successful and convenient business.

  1. Partner with the best-suited payments processer for your business’ needs. Ideally, find one that offers a variety of payment options, as QRC transactions are not universal to every processor. 
  2. Generate your unique QR Code with your payment’s provider (typically done on an app such as PayPal or Stripe for example).
  3. Make the QR code visible—prominently display your code in your store window display, on any flyers or marketing materials, and certainly at the payment terminal upon checkout at a brick and mortar establishment. 
  4. Instruct the customer to scan the code using their smartphone or tablet.

The benefits of QR Codes 

Aside from its seamless setup, utilizing QRCs is a great way to give your customers the ultimate safe, effective, contact-free experience. Without having to install an app, type a URL, or conduct a search, QRCs allow customers to review company information and make payments at the drop of a hat. The two-dimensional design holds significantly more data than traditional barcodes and in turn, is much safer as the content embedded inside the code cannot be changed, altered, or hacked into. With traditional payment methods requiring both contact with surfaces and items others may have touched, and additional time spent inside a confined space, customers will likely go with a faster, safer option when it’s presented to them.  

Although the technology behind QRCs has been around for almost thirty years, its recent resurgence has been significant due to the restrictions of COVID-19. We’re all learning to adapt to new ways of doing business, and the QRC has certainly found its purpose during this time.  

Between its simplicity, efficiency, and modernized approach to conducting business, it’s no wonder why the trend has picked up again in the US. And from what it seems so far, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. (And we’re certainly okay with that!)