Believe it or not, QR codes have been around for 27 years. The square-shaped matrix barcode was invented in Japan in 1994 as a means of increasing efficiency in the automotive industry.
Fast forward to 2021 and they’re everywhere. During 2020, the use of QR codes skyrocketed as the little black and white squares replaced menus at restaurants, appeared beside check-outs to promote contactless payments, at medical facilities, airports, and public areas as a way to share information in a contactless way.
They’ve become a part of our daily lives, and analysts suggest they’re here to stay. In fact, their use is on track to increase in the coming years. If you’re not already scanning your way through the day, read on for everything you need to know about QR codes.
What is a QR code?
QR stands for Quick Response, as it saves users a lot of time by immediately directing the user’s device to a website or document. The codes have a distinctive design: a small black and white square with an irregular, pixelated pattern. Essentially, it’s a machine-readable barcode, similar to the one you might find on a box of cereal. At first glance, it won’t mean anything to you, but to a scanner in the grocery store, it passes on the weight, brand, product category and price. Similarly, when you scan a QR code using your smartphone in a restaurant, you’ll be presented with a menu, or at checkout, an option to pay for your goods.
How to use QR codes
In order to use a QR code, you may need to download a specific app to read or scan, the QR code that will then direct you to the appropriate site or page. However, some apps such as the payit e-wallet take the extra work out of making QR payments with an inbuilt code reader. All you have to do is open your e-wallet app. and select Pay with QR code. It couldn’t be more simple.
How to know if QR payments are accepted
Now that you know exactly how to recognize a QR code, they’ll become easier to spot in your favorite shops, restaurants and public areas. In fact, if you open your Whatsapp, you’ll find you have your own personal QR code that someone can scan to instantly add you as a contact. If you’re ever in doubt, simply enquire with your friendly retailer.
Why use QR codes
QR codes are excellent for maintaining distance and eliminating physical contact when paying for goods and services as you go about your day. By scanning a QR code through a digital wallet such as payit, there’s no need for handling cash or passing a card to a cashier.
Safety and security are maintained by merchants who are responsible for displaying an official QR code. That said, it’s always important to take your own precautions and only ever scan the QR code displayed by the store at the check-out, never a printout or copy as it may have been manipulated to redirect funds to fraudsters.