QR Codes: The next high potential alternative contactless payment

05 Oct, 2021 . 4 minutes

QR codes, the ubiquitous two-dimensional barcodes that can be easily scanned with smartphones, have become a major component of digital payment services and are set to play an even bigger role in the future. The scannable code system is used in many industries, from finance to healthcare. Britain's National Health System (NHS) has used QR codes to implement a "track and trace" method to deal with the spread of the coronavirus. People can check-in at public venues without having to physically touch anything.

About 80 percent of smartphone users in the UK and Europe had used QR codes at least once, according to a survey by MobileIron in September 2020. Meanwhile, 40 percent of respondents said they had scanned at least one QR code in the past seven days when the survey was conducted. The use of QR codes for contactless payments has also risen significantly during the pandemic. The survey found that customers in the UK and Europe have been relying more on alternative payment methods. According to the survey, 44 percent of customers used QR codes to pay at restaurants, 32 percent used them at retailers, and 26 percent used them to buy products in the latter part of 2020.

This shows that QR codes can be widely used as an alternative payment method in the future. Other than the fact that most people are generally familiar with this system, QR codes also offer several other benefits.

One-stop-service for contactless payments

Customer behaviour has become much simpler yet more complex at the same time during the pandemic. People expect everything to be contactless but also digitalised. Fortunately, QR codes create this safe environment and offer various features on which merchants can rely.

Most importantly, is that a QR code can act as a one-for-all link. Merchants can easily customise a single code to include everything or make multiple codes for each service. A retailer, for instance, can start a business by handing out leaflets displaying a single QR code that can be scanned to access a full catalogue of products. It can also be displayed on a business card to give customers complete information about a company. All things considered, QR codes have the potential to become an integral part of digital payments. All consumers have to do to transact is scan a QR code and confirm the payment amount. Merchants on their side of the system verify receipt of the payment. Every payment is processed in one single seamless system, without any hassles

Furthermore, this process does not require any physical contact, thus reducing the risk of contracting the coronavirus. QR codes are also not limited to online stores, as they can easily be adapted for use at brick-and-mortar stores and any other in-person service. Merchants only have to display a QR code, either digitally or in print, at the point of payment for customers to scan.

Secure and temporary payment method

In the world of digital payments, transaction security is crucial. The temporary nature of a QR code makes it perfect for use in such settings. QR codes can be customised to provide a one-time payment link that expires after use. Once a customer has made a payment, the code can no longer be used by anyone. This prevents multiple payments and fraud.

When a merchant is dealing with several payment systems, maintaining security and privacy could be a major concern. QR codes allow all transactions to be conducted through a centralised system with only one security guarantee.

Another advantage of the temporary nature of QR codes is that it does not need to store a customer's personal or financial data. This prevents identity theft and the potential for fraud. The results of MobileIron's survey also show that 58 percent of consumers in the UK and Europe want to see greater adoption of QR codes. About 67 percent of the respondents said QR codes have made their lives easier when it comes to transacting. The use of QR codes is thus expected to become increasingly common for contactless payments after the pandemic.

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