The rise of QR codes as a payments tool
What are QR codes?A QR code (short for Quick Response code) is a souped-up bar code with a pattern of squares arranged on a grid. Invented in the 90s by the Japanese auto industry, QR codes can store up to 100x more information than conventional barcodes. For example, if a conventional barcode only contains an auto part number, the QR code can contain the part number, the manufacturer, the lot number, the date of purchase, the arrival date in inventory, information to repurchase the part, etc.
About 20 years ago, marketers started putting QR codes on just about everything—products, packaging, advertisements, posters, etc.—as a quick way to direct people to a website or other online destination. Yet they never really caught on, mainly because the technology available provided a disappointing customer experience.
Little did we know the QR code was a solution in search of the right problem.
Widely popular for years in Japan and China, QR codes are finally getting a second look in the U.S. and Europe as businesses investigate ways to accept payments in an era of social distancing.
A touch-free way to accept payments.
When using QR codes to accept payments, there is no need to handle cash or cards and no need for customers to interact with a point-of-sale (POS) device to enter a PIN or sign a receipt. Instead, accepting payments is as simple as aiming a smartphone camera at a displayed QR code.
All you need to do is generate a unique QR code, print it out, and post it wherever your customer is going to pay. For example:
Ideal for face-to-face interactions.
- Businesses with a physical storefront: Restaurants and bars, supermarket and local convenience shops, and most types of retailers.
- Businesses offering deliveries or pickups: Restaurants and bars, delivery services, movers.
- Service-based businesses: Gardeners, tradespeople, painters, cleaners.
Clearly, in the current Coronavirus situation, the main benefit of accepting payments via QR codes is that it is a touch-free way of accepting payments and limiting physical interaction with your customers. However, there are some other compelling benefits it offers:
The many other benefits QR code payments.
- No special equipment: There is no need to purchase a costly terminal or other POS equipment. All you need is your smartphone to scan or show your code.
- Convenient: QR codes are a fast, simple way to transfer payment information between your customer and your business. They last indefinitely so you only need to create one code and let your customers scan it to pay.
- Safe: You don’t need to see any card or banking information. Plus, your customers don’t need to carry around cash or credit cards.
Get started with your own QR code.Generating a unique QR code for your business is quick and easy— It only takes a few minutes. PayPal has a QR code generator in our PayPal Business app. Get started today with a way to accept payments at a safe distance.
If you accept cookies, we'll use them to improve and customise your experience and enable our partners to show you personalised PayPal ads when you visit other sites. Manage cookies and learn more